Ioditic, Putrid, Insulting and Dishonest
Recenserad i Storbritannien den 10 februari 2017
It is a lie to call this a sequel to Pillars of the Earth. Nominally it is set in Kingsbridge, but it is in a different era with a different cast. The set is also entirely different.
It is misleading to claim this is an adaptation of Follet's book.
None of this would matter if there were anything good about this series. There isn't.
In this fantasy World, all characters are stupid and have no recognisable morality.
Imagine the worst tabloid editor in the world and the worst fanatical feminist. They get drunk on a crate of wine and write their bucket lists of controversial stories. Mix these stories together and ask the Wayans Brothers to rush them into a script. It is not enough to fill 8 hours, so pad the series out by badly reworking the builder's storylines from The Pillars of the Earth.
You should expect an endless tirade of murder, rape, assualt, incest, fraud, arson, torture, etc. Don't expect to find a single sympathetic character, or for the behaviour of any character to make any sense.
There is some unpleasant gratuitous nudity; following flashes of boobs with murder and rape. The only reason this doesn't qaulify as a snuff theatre, is that it is so obviously proposterous.
Another annoying feature is that everytime anything of significance begins to happen, loud bland orchesteral music starts up. This tortuous music bears no relation whatsoever to what is happening on the screen.
Hanging is common in Kingsbridge. Some hangings take place in the main square, but others are more bizzarre. They take place on a narrow wooden bridge. The city (LOL, it couldn't pass as a hamlet) dwellers crowd onto this bridge to watch. Only they can't see, because they are in each others way. There is no explanation as to why they do not watch from the banks. (Well there is, because if they did then then obvious disaster would not happen, would it?) The bridge takes the place of the cathederal in the builders storyline. If you have seen the Pillars of the Earth, you can guess what happens. There are no surprises.
There are only four familiar faces amongst the cast. Peter Firth (Spooks) is not stretched, playing the relaxed ruler of Kingsbridge. Cynthia Nixon (Sex in the City) plays an evil schemer who is trying to worm her way back into his life, mostly by killing off everyone standing her way. Miranda Richardson is Mother superior of the convent. It is a minor role, which exists to protect the woman healer. Ben Chaplin plays a mysterious knght, that asks to become a monk at the outset. His appearances are mostly random and are never convincing. Chaplin always comes across as confused . Perhaps he struggles to remember his lines, but whatever the reason he needs to sort it out if he want to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor.
If your ghoulish nature is not satisfied by 5 hours hours of murder and the inevitable structural failure, have no fear. Plague wiil then arrive to add to the carnage. According to Folllet the effects of the plague were the motivation for his book, which shows how far this series diverges from his original concept.
Clearly the audience is supposed to root for the young builder and the young healer, but it is very difficult. Both lack the drive that you would expect from heroes. Neither are charismatic. The healer plot is extremely insulting to the male audience because of the blatant femminist agenda.
The producers have decided to deliberately promote homosexuality and atheism in an offensive manner. Same sex relationships are shown as loving, whilst heterosexuals are driven only by lust. Religious figures are portrayed as evil, ruthless hypocrites, whilst atheists are kind and sympathetic.
Historical accuracy and science are thrown out of the window throughout. It takes a particular type of idiot to dress up a longbowman in an expensive, heavy, full suit of chainmail. It must be magical chainmail, because it allowed one of them to fire an arrow at long range to penetrate both a plate shield and and plate breastplace to deliver a fatal wound. This happened in France, where fictional events similar to Crecy (5 years later) were taking place. Crecy was famous for being the battle where the English demonstrated the supremacy of the the longbow over the crossbow. However in this drama crossbows are notable, for their absence.
The effects of the plague, can only be described as comical. Physically the first sign of plague is for tomato ketchup to come out of a persons mouth. The communal response is bizarre. The producers are so obsessed with advancing their political agenda, the all sense of any reality is lost.
The acting is generally poor, because the script and direction is poor. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. You can only laugh at the childish action scenes. The director even manages to make the murder of a dog look hilarious.
The only extra is a short "Making of ..." video. It is of no real interest, because it is just a promotional propaganda video to sell the series. Some of the outrageous claims made, might make you laugh, but don't expect to learn anything.
When watching a series, so surreal as this one, it is impossible not to be reminded of the Monty Python satires. It does frequently reach that level of silliness, even though the producers insist it is a realistic historical drama. I kept expecting the regimented crowds of peasants to chant out in unison, " we are all indviduals". They never did, but the director coudn't reisist plagerising a crowd speech from Braveheart for the finale.
Fans of exploitation will be disapppointed, because the gore are gratuitous sexual scenes have been toned down, to ensure a 15 certificate.
The only possible remaining audiences are left-wing fanatics and those who regard Celebrity Big Brother, as high art.
If I haven't convinced you yet, ask yourself why the price is a third of that for The PIllars of the Earth?
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