18 September 2012
Eric Kripke's Revolution - The Premiere Review
Revolution is a brand new drama created by Eric Kripke, who also serves as an Executive Producer with J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Jon Favreau. The premiere is written by Kripke and directed by Favreau. The story takes place in the post-apocalyptic world without electricity. Revolution definitely reminds me of a number of recent dramas such as Jericho, Terra Nova, Falling Skies, Lost and Terminator Salvation. I have also previously blogged about the documentary Life After People which may or may not have inspired the theme and the landscape of the story. Despite the familiar elements, Revolution shows great promise and I will definitely keep tuning in.
The premiere sets up a great journey for our group of heroes including the series stars Billy Burke as Uncle Miles, Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie, Graham Rogers as Charlie's brother Danny and Zak Orth as Arron. We then have the Militia soldiers Giancarlo Esposito as Neville and David Lyons as Monroe. We also have the 'not sure if they are the good guys or the bad guys' including Maria Howell as Grace and J. D. Pardo as a militia solider Nate. The cast is not as big as Lost, but there are enough there to build a great plot. A few characters definitely have some prior history between them, the story is set to give it a reasonable attention. The premiere raises a lot of questions which will be answered through out the season. Kripke is the kind of writer who doesn't just throw questions without answering them. He doesn't just create characters who serve no purpose to the bigger picture.
Revolution focuses on the 'WHAT IF' story -- What if the electricity is turned off? What kind of world would we be living in? And what kind of human beings would we become? How do we pick ourselves up after the apocalypse? The last scene of the episode contains one of the biggest questions of all "WHAT NOW?" which in itself contains a lot of other questions -- What causes the blackout? Who is behind the blackout? What is their agenda? What happen in the past 15 years? What is the relationship between Ben (Charlie's father), Uncle Milies and Monroe? What's with the amulet? What's the deal with Grace and her Dharma Initiative-like workstation? Who is on the other side of the communication? What happens to Charlie's mum Rachel? Played by Elizabeth Mitchell, Rachel is said to have died, but I seriously doubt that she is dead. Clearly, Rachel is aware of the big 'problem' and I can't wait to see Mitchell's return to the show. Of course, these are just some of the questions to be answered by Kripke and the team this season. No way I am letting this show off my radar.
In an recent interview, Kripke speaks of some of the similarities between Revolution and Supernatural, and everything else that influences hi such as Lords of the Rings, Star Wars and Joseph Campbell's concept of the hero's journey. While Favreau reckons Kripke's work goes beyond these influences, it is a post-apocalyptic version A Game of Thrones. I can only assume he is referring to the epicness and the complexity of the hero's journey, and relationship between characters, and how everything intertwines in the grand scheme of things.
The premiere ticks a lot of boxes. The story is very well paced, well directed, well written and well performed. I enjoy the dialogues and the interactions between characters, there is a lot of good chemistry. The main characters are well defined and I think this show will be very heavy on character development. I love the fact that Charlie is this female version of Luke Skywalker or simply Arya Stark in A Game of Thrones, and Uncle Miles is the 'older version of Dean Winchester and Han Solo'. The way he takes down the entire team of Militia soldiers all by himself is like John McClane in Die Hard or Lara Croft in Tomb Raider or MacGyver. The post-apocalyptic landscape is believable and beautiful. The sword and bow fighting scenes are quite awesome. We are in the future but our tools are back to basic. The music is composed by Christopher Lennertz, who also did Supernatural. Revolution's soundtrack is not overpowering the main plot and it is very subtle. The closing credit music is definitely in the spirit of A Game of Throne.
There are a few scenes which remind me of Lost -- the airplane Charlie and co discover in the field trip; the turned over bus that Charlie and Danny investigate at the beginning of the episode is like the hatch; the computer Grace uses in the last scene looks just like the one used by the Dharma Initiative; the journey across towns is very Lost-like. There are also a few scenes remind me of Supernatural -- the muscle car and AD/DC at the beginning of the episode is a treat for Kripke's fans, and the amulet in Supernatural went to the bin but the one in Revolution is established as an important piece of power source or a key. And then there is the family theme -- Ben is like John Winchester and Rachel is like Mary Winchester; the sibling relationship of Charlie and Danny is like Dean and Sam; and the whole "You're supposed to look after him" speech between Ben and Charlie reminds me of John Winchester and Dean.
There is something for everyone. Personally, I love the post-apocalyptic kind of stories. I think Revolution is intriguing, it's mysterious, it has a lot of questions, it is character driven, it is about family, and it is about the near future we could find ourselves in. What would Apple and Google do?
Overall, I am very happy with Revolution. Having comparing the show with Lost and Supernatural, Revolution deserves to be viewed independently from the previous work of Kripke and Abrams. I think the show will prove its worth to fans and critics. I am a big fan of Eric Kripke's work and I will definitely keep watching it. There is so much there to keep me coming back for more. What do you think of Revolution?
PS: Seeing Supernatural is the priority of this blog, I will review Revolution every few weeks rather than giving an in depth review every week. I hope you can come back and let me share my thoughts with you.