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Old 12th January 2010, 08:09 PM
Conrad Lefkon Conrad Lefkon is offline
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Default Episode 4: Mercury Falling

4. MERCURY FALLING



STORY
1. NCS HALL OF FAME

You can read a synopsis of this story at the following location: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...arlet_episodes

The highlighted main characters appear in ‘Mercury Falling'.


2. CAPTAIN BLACK’S REPORT

You will remember that some time ago, in the OCS episode called 'The Heart of New York', the greed of 3 criminals sealed their own fate when I hijacked their plan to rob the Second National Bank of New York. The men pretended that they had been killed and then recreated as Mysterons by dressing 3 dummies in their own clothes and then putting them in a car which they crashed over a cliff. The car crash, and the apparent death of the occupants, was witnessed by a man who was later convinced that the 3 men had been brought back to life as Mysterons.

This time, the Mysterons found out that the Project Director for the International Space Agency (ISA), Doctor Celine Kopalski, was blackmailing her own organisation by threatening to bring down the Mercury space shuttle on the White House lawn unless she received a ransom in diamonds. Once again we decided to hijack a plot that had been carefully arranged by someone else.


My instinctive rapport with Paul warns me he is behind me.

3. GUEST ARTISTS

The main guest artist was Celine Kopalski. I couldn't resist showing this picture of her because of her cute car with its unusual light configuration!


I liked the wavy line face distortion software and voice disguising program which made it impossible to identify the extortionist. Of course, the Mysterons don't need money as we just take what we want, so that was a clue that we were not the culprits this time.
__________________
DUEL
ZUCA: "I... I thought you were someone else."
SCARLET: "Someone else dressed in scarlet? You've gotta be kidding."

Last edited by Conrad Lefkon; 17th January 2010 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 12th January 2010, 08:10 PM
Conrad Lefkon Conrad Lefkon is offline
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CONTENT

4. CHARACTERISATION AND VOICE WORK

Look at this picture of Harmony Angel. As was the case for Rhapsody, Harmony looks nothing like the picture in the Hall of Fame (2nd character from the left in the second row). I prefer this particular blonde version to the usual Harmony who never looks very realistic and usually sports red hair.


5. VEHICLES AND TECHNOLOGY

You can see how kind-hearted Captain Black is because instead of shooting Scarlet he just blew up one of the International Space Agency's company cars to delay his pursuit.


6. MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS

There is some good dramatic music when the spaceship takes off. I also like the reflective sound track when Adam is talking philosophically to Destiny questioning whether people would come together more if they knew about the existence of the Mysterons (picture below).

7. LOCATIONS, SETS AND LIGHTING

There is some superb 'cinematography' and none more so than when the heat shield of the Mercury shuttle is retracted and we see the Earth above our heads. Sensational and quite moving!


8. MOTION CAPTURE

This time around I want to focus on the superb motion capture scenes that took place on the satellite dish. It was just mesmerising to see Captain Black crouched down tapping the keys on the laptop - the posture, weight distribution and every mannerism was perfect.

I loved it the way Scarlet knocked out Black the first time around and yet, just as Black fell, he still managed to break his fall with his hands. I guess this was a natural reaction of the motion capture artist to protect himself. For me, this kind of motion capture and the subsequent transfer to CGI characters was the greatest achievement of the whole series.

__________________
DUEL
ZUCA: "I... I thought you were someone else."
SCARLET: "Someone else dressed in scarlet? You've gotta be kidding."

Last edited by Conrad Lefkon; 16th January 2010 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 12th January 2010, 08:11 PM
Conrad Lefkon Conrad Lefkon is offline
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SUMMARY

9. OVERALL COMMENTS

A fast paced episode with a really good plot. Having said that, it would have had much more impact if we had seen screaming crowds, breaking news bulletins and the President telling people not to panic. After all, this did not start out as a Mysteron attack.

10. EPISODE RATING


Rating 4 out of 5


TRIVIA

11. “I GUESSTIMATE THE PYRENEES” (Plot Accelerators)

Well, there was nothing subtle about Conrad's investigations. It certainly gave me a thrill when Kopalski mentioned the 'other guy' as being a 'Captain Black'. It ramped up the action with Black's terrific escape by shooting through the door.

It seemed to me that Scarlet and Black still had some mutual affection! After all, Scarlet seemed to shoot downwards when Black escaped from the Records Room and Black never aimed at Scarlet with his pump action gun but blew up the car instead so that the blast would delay him.

A second, really obvious plot accelerator was that Kopalski gave Scarlet full details of how she had hacked into the systems with her laptop and also told him where she had hidden it. While still 'herself' she was even going to give him the secret access codes.

With the benefit of hindsight, I would say that Kopalski didn't realise at first that she had been taken over by the Mysterons and was exercising her own will. This was very similar to the behaviour of Conrad in a later episode, called 'Dominion', and in that episode the Mysterons actually said that Black, himself, believed he was free of Mysteron control.

12. “WHAT ABOUT SCARLET?” (Other Captains do some work)

Here is Captain Grey (Iain Taggart) who keeps Scarlet company whilst they are monitoring Celine Kopalski as she apparently hands over the case full of diamonds as a ransom. He seems like a decent guy.


13. “THEY NOT ONLY FIGHT IN THE SHADOWS BUT MARSHALL THOSE SHADOWS AGAINST US” (The latest Mysteron powers)

Conrad catches up with Celine as she is leaving her hotel and gives her an enigmatic but disturbing smile. That smile says "You will become my Mysteron accomplice" but we don't see it how it happens.

14. “MY INDESTRUCTIBLE BUTT” (Scarlet defies death)

It is Blue and Destiny who have to face the prospect of death in this episode with Harmony actually firing missiles at them! Scarlet is hindered by Black blowing up one of the company cars but Conrad was only delaying him and not really trying to kill him with a flying gearbox.

15. “GO OUT THERE AND GET IT BACK!” (Damage and destruction of Spectrum property)

Harmony blows up Black's getaway car which is actually Scarlet's Cheetah RRV which he has forgotten to lock up properly. Before Paul blows up the satellite dish he also punches Celine's laptop but neither item is Spectrum's property.

16. “WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY” (Nods to other films and shows)

There are nods to other Gerry Anderson series here. The Mercury shuttle is possibly named after Mike Mercury (Supercar), the shuttle launch along the track is clearly taken from Fireball XL5 and the lift body seen in my first screenshot may well refer to the lift bodies of Zero-X in the film 'Thunderbirds Are Go!'.


I like the flock of birds in the distance which can be seen throughout the launch.

17. MONKEY MAN AND FRIENDS (NCS Repertory Company)

I didn't notice any of Monkey Man's friends in this episode although I think Celine Kopalski can be seen briefly in one of the later episodes as a resident of Ragnarok.

18. RUBBERY LEGS AND FACELIFTS (Dodgy key-framing and other anomalies)

This was one of the early episodes but I notice that Destiny's eyes and Adam's eyebrows are both somewhat disconcerting. Destiny looks like she is wearing contact lenses and squints a lot and Adam looks like he has used mustard-coloured 'Just For Men' hair dye on his eyebrows!

19. LOOSE ENDS

There is nothing that strikes me at the moment but you never know when I will come back and edit this comment!

20. BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT! (In-jokes)

‘The Complete Gerry Anderson’ authorised episode guide tells us who the ISA personnel files refer to – the names and photos are not correlated. The photographs are of Ron Thornton (CGI Producer), Harvy Randhawa (TD Animator) and Josh Simmonds (Blue Team CG Director). Lavabo Domini must surely refer to Dominic Lavery (Episode Director), Karol Kupiska refers to Carol Kupisz (Graphic Designer) and Marek Woollard is Mark Woollard (Episode Director).



21. SPECTRUM GOODIE BAG (Colour coordinated bling!)

Captain Blue has a very nice white spacesuit and helmet with blue trimmings.

22. EPISODE DIRECTOR DOM LAVERY'S COMMENTS (Replies to my posts on the excellent Spectrum Headquarters Forum)

There are no posts from Dom Lavery on this episode but 'The Complete Gerry Anderson' tells us that Dom took over as Episode Director from Steven Begg. Steven was responsible for the audio and MoCap recordings for 'Mercury Falling' before transferring to the 'Batman Begins' motion picture.
__________________
DUEL
ZUCA: "I... I thought you were someone else."
SCARLET: "Someone else dressed in scarlet? You've gotta be kidding."

Last edited by Conrad Lefkon; 16th January 2010 at 05:21 PM.
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  #4  
Old 17th February 2010, 12:57 PM
Derek Eaton's Avatar
Derek Eaton Derek Eaton is offline
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A couple of observations:-

The fight on the satellite dish is similar to Tom Bakers last episode as the 4th Doctor Who and his fight with the Master.

At launch there is a building to the right of the Mercury ship which reminds me of the Space City control tower in XL5.
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Old 1st May 2010, 12:14 PM
Terry1 Terry1 is offline
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Default Steve Begg

22. EPISODE DIRECTOR DOM LAVERY'S COMMENTS (Replies to my posts on the excellent Spectrum Headquarters Forum)

There are no posts from Dom Lavery on this episode but 'The Complete Gerry Anderson' tells us that Dom took over as Episode Director from Steven Begg. Steven was responsible for the audio and MoCap recordings for 'Mercury Falling' before transferring to the 'Batman Begins' motion picture.[/QUOTE]

I know Steve Begg and he told me he pretty much directed everthing in this episode including camera layout and the space craft seen in this episode his conscious homage to Fireball XL5.. He left the show fed up with the constant delays on his episodes for Batman Begins and Casino Royale, something he has never regretted..
Terry..
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Old 1st May 2010, 05:17 PM
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Steve Gerard Steve Gerard is offline
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Excellent Episode 4 "Mercury Falling" analysis.
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  #7  
Old 25th January 2011, 07:13 PM
MLP* MLP* is offline
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Highlight of the episode was Captain Black going joyriding in Scarlet's car, although the unusual way Scarlet disposed of an unwanted passenger was amusing too.
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