Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

IMAX Game of Thrones – The Watchers on the Wall (S4, Ep9), The Children (S4, Ep10), & Season Five Trailer and Pictures

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When tickets went on sale to see the two last episode of season 4 of ‘Game of Thrones’ in IMAX, I couldn’t help myself. I had to attend. I was more excited to see the cinematic quality of the show translate to the huge screen than the season 5 preview trailer. (It’s embedded below for your viewing pleasure.) FYI: SPOILERS

Boy was I right! I haven’t seen these episodes since they originally aired last year and I’m glad for that because revisiting them in IMAX was quite the experience. It began with the usual HBO static, a “previously on” segment, and the opening credits, which were pretty giant-shootspowerful on the big screen with the bass booming. The sound and picture quality held up, while not as crystal clear as something that was designed for a theatre of that size. What surprised me the most was how well the special effects came off on an IMAX screen. The giants, green screened backgrounds, and mastodons looked incredibly authentic.

Episode 9, ‘The Watchers on the Wall’, is pretty straight forward, as are most of the penultimate episodes of each season. It only focuses on the Wilding attack on The Wall and Castle Black, so the single narrative episode was the perfect hour to start the IMAX experience. Itjonanigif felt like a mini film and I appreciated it more on a second viewing. It’s not my favorite episode of the season, but it read and played incredibly well on the massive 42nd street IMAX screen. All of the fight scenes, especially the lowering of the scythe, were pretty excellent to watch in a large group. The epic cheers of the crowd made me want this to be a reoccurring Sunday night event once season 5 starts in April.

My major issue with the episode still stayed the same: we didn’t spend enough time with all got-imax-2-1422620710of these characters throughout the season to truly be affected by their deaths, but it’s all relative because how great the show is overall. The spectacle of the IMAX battles helped too. The Ygritte/Jon Scene was still pretty moving, if only slightly, due to the palpable decision making moments before her death. (Surprisingly, it actually received a few laughs from the crowd when her pre-pubescent murderer gave Jon a head nod.) Rose Leslie isn’t given enough credit for her portrayal of Ygritte because her early scenes, as well as her death scene, in this episode are really well done and full of subtext and agony.

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Varys’ “Welp, I can’t go back now” moment is probably the best 20 seconds of the episode.

The season finale is all over the map (literally), tying up loose ends here and there, while setting up season five starting points for our characters. Tyrion takes his revenge, The Hound and Aria run into Brienne and Podrick, Stannis shows up to impose his will in the North, Bran and company reach their final destination, and Daenerys is faced with leadership issues.

The Hound and Brienne fight scene was a pleasure to watch (and the highlight from the episode in general) in the IMAX format with its intensity juxtaposed with the gorgeous tyrioncraggy hill scenery. This theatre experience re-proved  just how good all of the actors are because the intimate moments (ie: Tyrion’s murder rampage on Shea and Tywin/Arya’s “goodbye” to the The Hound) translated beautifully in giant detail. There were no false notes. Here, again, the special effects were fantastic. Daenerys’ dragons were better than some effects designed for actual theatrical releases. (Their screeching was horrifying in IMAX.)

We’re lucky that Emilia Clarke is so engaging as Dany because her storyline feels like one big stall until she starts making her big moves. While I appreciate her slow, gradual  rise to chains1power and understanding of leadership, it feels overly redundant. On the other hand (on the other side of Westeros), the Bran story, while interesting narrative-wise, evokes no sense of feeling. Except to maybe Hodor, there is absolutely no loyalty or empathy for those characters. It’s a good thing that their ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ skeleton fight scene was really exciting (and extremely loud) on the big screen because they are the weakest link in the final hour.

We were then treated to the season 5 trailer (all the way above), which after the two episodes directly before were welcomed with a tremendous fanfare from the crowd. Even post-45999-The-Children-Throwing-Fireball-JkvDthough most of us in the audience had probably seen it online already, we were over the moon with excitement for what’s to come in April. I wasn’t blown away by the footage, but it did what a trailer is supposed to do, get us excited. (It was also a perfect follow up to what we had just seen.) What a fantastic experience that I would suggest it to any ‘Game of Thrones’ fan. I really could have sat in that theatre all day watching the entire fourth season, not just these two hours. I wanted to see ‘The Mountain vs The Viper’ on the big screen, all of Tyrion’s trial, the Purple Wedding, and more.

Before I sign off, here are some official season 5 photos from HBO.

Maisie_Williams_as_Arya_Stark___photo_Macall_B._Polay_HBO_gallery_primary
Arya Stark
Daniel_Portman_as_Podrick_Payne_and_Gwendoline_Christie_as_Brienne_of_Tarth___photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Brienne of Tarth and Podrick
Sophie_Turner_as_Sansa_Stark_and_Aidan_Gillen_as_Littlefinger___photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
LIttlefinger and Sansa
Emilia_Clarke_as_Daenerys_Targaryen__photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Daenerys Targaryen
Michael_McElhatton_as_Roose_Bolton__Iwan_Rheon_as_Ramsay_Bolton_and_Elizabeth_Webster_as_Walda_Frey___photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
The Boltons and a Frey
Carice_van_Houten_as_Melisandre_photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Melisandre
Kit_Harington_as_Jon_Snow__photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Jon Snow
Conleth_Hill_as_Varys_and_Peter_Dinklage_as_Tyrion_Lannister___photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Varys and Tyrion
Kristofer_Hivju_as_Tormund_Giantsbane_photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Tormund
Lena_Headey_as_Cersei_Lannister_and_Ian_Beattie_as_Meryn_Trant__photo_Macall_B._Polay_HBO_gallery_primary
Cersei
Lena_Headey_as_Cersei_Lannister_and_Nikolaj_Coster-Waldau_as_Jaime_Lannister__photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Cersei and Jaime
Kit_Harington_as_Jon_Snow__Stephen_Dillane_as_Stannis_Baratheon_and_Liam_Cunningham_as_Davos_Seaworth___photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Jon Snow, Stannis, and Davos
Nathalie_Emmanuel_as_Missandei_and_Jacob_Anderson_as_Grey_Worm___photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Missandei and Grey Worm
Dean-Charles_Chapman_as_Tommen_Baratheon_and_Lena_Headey_as_Cersei_Lannister___photo_Macall_B._Polay_HBO_gallery_primary
Tommen and Cersei
Natalie_Dormer_as_Margaery_Tyrell_and_Lena_Headey_as_Cersei_Lannister__photo_Helen_Sloan_HBO_gallery_primary
Margaery and Cersei
Indira_Varma_as_Ellaria_Sand_and_Deobia_Opaeri_as_Areo_Hotah__photo_Macall_B._Polay_HBO_gallery_primary
Ellaria and Areo
Jonathan_Pryce_as_the_High_Sparrow__photo_Macall_B._Polay_HBO_gallery_primary
The High Sparrow
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Doran Martell

Season five of ‘Game of Thrones’ begins on Sunday, April 12th 2015, but you can catch all four season on HBOGO or the last two episodes of season four at an IMAX near you.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Game of Thrones – The Laws and Gods of Men (S4, Ep6)

Half way through this week’s episode I intended to write a piece about how there are two side to every war: The Front and the Back Dealings. I was going to write about how Dany, while easily moving from city to city freeing all of the slaves, was inconsistent and weak in her ruling. She also slaughtered seemingly good people in herstatic.squarespace raids. (Great dragon effects too.) Davos and Stannis attempted to convince Mycroft Holmes of Braavos Savings and Loan to financially back their power play for the throne. Theon/Reek’s sister stealth attempt to save him, after she was baited by Ramsay Snow. Tywin discussing Dany and the Hound with his council, followed by his bartering with Jaime to effect the outcome of Tyrion’s trail.
But I’m not.
I’m not because I can’t stop thinking about the last ten minutes of the episode.
We’ve seen great extended scenes before, of course. The show is most effective when they dedicate most of an hour to those sequences. Ned’s death, the Battle of Blackwater Bay, imgresthe ‘Red Wedding’, and Joffery’s demise are examples of spending longer amounts of time in one specific place in order to be more effective. While this doesn’t involve an amazing set piece or extravagant death, I believe that it is the best the show has executed to this point. The editing was spot on, the underlying context of Tywin successfully manipulating Jaime, while taking down his least favorite child, was brilliant, the change in Tyrion’s demeanor once Jaime told him the deal was moving, and the reveal of Shae was a shock.
As fantastic as these were (and still are as I re-watch this sequence), they pale in comparison to what Peter Dinklage brings to this scene as an actor. Shae’s testimony, whilegameofthrones14-97 probably Lanister coached, comes from a place of pure malice towards the imp. While most of the trial plays as a “best of” from seasons past, Shae’s words cut deeper then the sword that caused Tyrion’s facial scars. He transforms from the apathetic doomed defendant to a seething hopeless creature who won’t go down on a lie from his mistress. He’s on trail for who he is, not what he’s done.
What kind of duel will he be fighting? Will Jaime fight for him or will Bronn? Will he fight for himself? Who will he face? Those are questions for another time. Here, I only ask: how has GameOfThronesDinklage only won one Emmy? (I know the answer: Jesse Pinkman and Co, but still.) I mean, if this isn’t his submission episode, I don’t know what is. His power, change, sincerity, anger, and charisma radiate off the screen, memorizing. How does this show keep getting better?
Keep on Watchin’!
-Bryan

Game of Thrones – First of His Name (S4, Ep5)

As we reach the half-way point in Game of Thrones’ forth season most of our favorite characters have reached a point in their season’s quest where major decisions have to be made. Many of these decisions have been a long time in the making, but, assuming their deaths aren’t handed to them prematurely, must be made in the coming Westeros hours.

game_of_thrones_63851Tommen is now king. He may even be a good king–for once. Realistically, he can’t be any worse than the last few. Now with this boy as the country’s figure head, the question of who will take on the role of his queen is the obvious next question. Cersei presents Margaery with the option of the role, who plays it off as if she hasn’t thought about it. The underlying Cersei apology and blatant recognition of a smooth transition are dynamite in this sequence. In her discussion with Tywin, she has to commit to her place in the Lanister history. Whatever that may be.gotmp091813ep405-44621jpg-a29f84_960w Will she strengthen the family dynasty by going along with her marriage to Margaery’s ‘closeted’ brother to help pay off the debts of her family to the bank? I mean, a Lanister always pays their debts. Even as the most seemingly powerful woman in all of Westeros, she is still helpless within the context of her family dealings. She is being pawned off again, just as she had to do to her daughter–brought out in a wonderful scene with Oberyn. I’d
also ask how will Jaime’s betrayal of her effect this decision, but the show has poorly dealt with that fall out. Also, Tywin will eventually need to make a decision on Tyrion (always dearly missed from any episode), if he hasn’t already.

Arya must decide what kind of hatred she wants to carry and how to act on it. Is she the ‘sword dancer’ that she was briefly trained to be or a vicious killer that The Hound shows her day after day? She wants to be the elegant fighter, but with her sword, there’s very little she can do without both physical and mental armor. The Hound may be on her kill list, one game-of-thrones-first-of-his-name_article_story_largeshe recites daily, but for now he may be the teacher she needs to carry out her deeds–not just a convenient traveling partner. How much of her will survive her hatred of the world and the people in it? We can all agree that Arya will be very disappointed to learn that Joffery is already dead.

In Dany’s corner of the world, her council actually presents her with a decision to make. Her work in Slaver’s Bay is semi-obsolete, as the masters have retained their power across Game-of-Thrones-First-of-His-Name-4the land.  Should she re-claim those cities in the name of Targaryen or sail to King’s Landing to finally attempt to take the throne? Regardless of if her fleet is ready; she recognizes her reputation and leadership skills would come under massive scurrility if she can’t control this simple region. Dany must prove to herself and others that she can be a powerful leader. At least something is happening west of Westeros that pertains to all of our other characters at the moment.

After ‘warging’ Hodor and saving the day, Bran must come to terms what he believes to be his destiny. The anguish in his face as he decides to prolong his reunion with Jon is beautifully played by Isaac Helpstead-Wright. His decision is based on the good of mankind. Spring must come as soon as possible. Can we also just mention how bad-ass Hodor was? Hodor. (Plus we got a sword through the head. Some nice gore this week.)

In what I believe to be the most interesting aspect of the episode was the revelation that Littlefinger and Lysa Arryn killed Jon Arynn–the original hand of the King (which is why Ned goes to King’s Landing, so on and so forth). We were all led to believe that a Lanister had done the deed (cough*Jaime*cough) to stop the answering of all questions pertaining to thrones_612x380‘royal’ children. Clearly Lysa is deeply in love (obsessed) with Littlefinger in terms of her reasoning, but what is Littlefinger’s motive? Settling for Catelyn Stark’s sister, a secret power move, or just Joker-scale chaos could be the cause of his murderous ways.  Through all of this, Sansa believes for one second she is safe, but this may be a worse scenario for her overall. She even defends Tyrion to her cousins–that’s when you know things are bad.  Now she has to marry her cousin? Too much. Hopefully somebody will show up to rescue her–her sister or Brienne.

A quick character scene featuring Podrick and Brienne featured some nice moments, but when it comes down to it, any episode with no Stannis and Theon is a good one. It’s not that those story lines are bad, they’re just not nearly as good as everything else. What will the second half of this season bring? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to see what goes down. This has been an incredibly solid season, in which the director, writers, and editors are very much on their game (of thrones).

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan