Legion is Wes Anderson Meets The Prisoner Meets New Mutants meets X-Files

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As I predicted, Legion debuted to rave reviews, as in, OMG THIS IS INCREDIBLE. IT was so good that when I saw the names of people I know in the credits I was like “WOW YOU MADE THIS?? SO GOOD!!!!!”

I will need to watch it a few more times before I can fully discuss the amazing beauty of the first episode, but from horror – “What happened to the doors?”, the swimming pool scene – to glitchy mind bending – Syd Barrett’s explanation of dreams within dreams – to Dan Haller’s all around excellent portrayal of the main character, this was 68 minutes of TV as good as it gets. Noah Hawley wrote and directed and it was primo Twin Peaks David Lynch level good.

Even though it isn’t based on the comics much (Syd isn’t suddenly going to reveal she’s Rogue) Hawley was as fan of the orignal comics, and there was a big of Sienkiewicz Stray Toasters kinetics in all the scenes of stuff flying through the air.

Just three things:

• The use of color. Orange represents imprisonment. Green represents the outside world. When Syd leaves the institution she’s still wearing an orange coat (David is still inside) but carries a green suitcase (her escape to the outside.) Amy wears green, a sign she’s outside David’s mindloop.

• The incredible one take escape scene at the end reminded me so much of the Ping Island escape from  Steve Zissou, one of many Wes Anderson call outs.

• Above all, this is about the notion that if you really did have superpowers, it would probably drive you crazy. An idea often explored in comics, but Hawley makes incredible use of the multi-media tools at his disposal, from opening sequence of David’s maturation to the Bollywood dance scene.

So yeah. Amazing. Can’t wait to see more.

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. “Legion is Wes Anderson Meets The Prisoner Meets New Mutants meets X-Files”

    Let’s hear it for originality!

    At least it’s not another ’80s suburban fantasy about kids “inspired” by Spielberg and Stephen King. I’m looking at you, “Stranger Things” and “Paper Girls.”

  2. Ooh, good catch on the colors! I was so overwhelmed by the thing, some of the smaller details escaped me.

    Bollywood but with Bossa Nova scoring <333333

    I'm very glad we're finally getting something this good. I hope that quality maintains through the whole run. With only 8 episodes in this season, it's looking hopeful.

  3. Peter, your comment typifies the fanboy craving for the familiar and the tried and true. If it ain’t a wallow in nostalgia, you’re not interested.

    There’s a difference between “art inspiring other art,” like Ross Macdonald being influenced by Dashiell Hammett, and what we’re getting today: note-for-note imitations of things from the past, with “call outs” to specific shots and scenes from old pop culture. That’s just lazy and uncreative.

    And nerds can’t get enough of it, because nerds are terrified of anything that might require them to think.

  4. George, have you actually watched the episode in question? It sounds you have very strong feelings about this subject and are judging the show based solely on Heidi’s headline.

  5. The whole thing about nostalgia has always interested me. Things designed to be nostalgic sometimes really get to me, because I’m a first gen immigrant. I felt freaking nostalgic while watching stranger things as I was like wait what? WTH am I even nostalgic for, haha.

    Then I realized that watching that show was like listening to two brothers who’s really passionate about something and are really good at explaining their passion. It gets infective. And that’s why it never rings true to me when people accuse it of unoriginality. I mean, I’m biased, since I also don’t think the way Tarantino collages his influences is unoriginal, I think collages in general can be very original. Stranger things certainly has borderline ripped things off from elfin lied, under the skin, and cult horror flicks but that’s actually really interesting and original for me, to see elfin lied, Spielberg, Xtro (freaking Xtro!), and under the skin paired together in such a way where I end up also appreciating those works in new ways and making connections I otherwise might have missed.

    If they only took cue from Spielberg and 80s films, then it would not have been as original.

    But basically, @George, your comment is a little ironic, considering it seems like stranger things essentially also did what legion did, which you liked. It paired together a bunch of drastically different influences in such an unique way that you couldn’t help feel engaged and refreshed at its originality. So your comment kind of defeated itself?

  6. I was bored by all but the last ten minutes, when stuff actually happens. And that’s saying something from an Aubrey Plaza fan. Maybe it was all over my head or something, rather than muddied, too-in-love-with-itself storytelling. Yeah, this viewer is stupid, that must be it.

  7. Jun Xia, you misread my comment. I didn’t say I liked “Stranger Things.” I indicated that I’m tired of the Spielberg/King ’80s suburban nostalgia it traffics in (as does the comic book “Paper Girls,” which may also be influenced by the ’80s-set movie DONNIE DARKO).

    I’m tired of retreads being passed off as “homages,” and of fans thinking they’re hip because they recognize the references. Maybe we need a return to genre deconstruction, a la Robert Altman and Arthur Penn’s movies of the ’70s, rather than all these lovingly crafted “homages.”

    Forty years ago, if you saw a shot copied from another movie, it was in a comedy — usually from Mel Brooks or Woody Allen. It was parody. It wasn’t described as a “call out” that was supposed to be hip and cool. It was there to get laughs.

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