The River - S01E01 and S01E02, OAD 2/7/12 - *SPOILERS OKAY*

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by danterner, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Feb 8, 2012 #1 of 49

    danterner Not it!

    Mar 4, 2005
    Greenacres, FL
    There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Or, as Shakespeare put it in Sonnet 59, "If there be nothing new, but that which is Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled, Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss The second burden of a former child."

    I watched The River not knowing what to expect. All I knew was that Spielberg was involved and that it had to do with a missing guy on the Amazon. I didn't even know it was supernatural/horror, so I was pleasantly surprised with how it developed. Moreso when I realized it is basically a retelling of Hamlet.

    Here are the characters from Hamlet, and how they match up to the characters of The River (descriptions of the Shakespearean characters taken from SparkNotes):

    Hamlet - The Prince of Denmark, the title character, and the protagonist. About thirty years old at the start of the play, Hamlet is the son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius. Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle's scheming and disgust for his mother's sexuality. Hamlet is often indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts.

    Lincoln Cole fills this role. Like Hamlet, he's back from school and is introduced as dealing with his father's death on a deep emotional level.

    Claudius - The King of Denmark, Hamlet's uncle, and the play's antagonist. The villain of the play, Claudius is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling--his love for Gertrude, for instance, seems sincere.

    This is Clark, the producer.

    Gertrude - The Queen of Denmark, Hamlet's mother, recently married to Claudius. Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth.

    This is Tess Cole, Lincoln's mother and Emmet's wife. Note that Lincoln has a big scene where he accuses his mother of infidelity in the wake of his father's passing and asserts that her main motivating force is guilt. ("Out out damn spot!"). She's had an affair with Clark. (I can't recall if I intuited that, or if it was stated outright in the episode).

    Horatio - Hamlet's close friend. Horatio is loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After Hamlet's death, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet's story.

    This is Lena, Lincoln's childhood friend, the daughter of the missing cameraman.

    Ophelia - a beautiful young woman. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered.

    This is Jahel, the young spanish girl that channels Emmet's spirit.

    The Ghost - The specter of Hamlet's recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him. However, it is not entirely certain whether the ghost is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else. Hamlet speculates that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what the ghost is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved.

    This is Emmet's spirit, seen in the second episode via Jahel.

    The Undiscovered Country - ""An undiscovered country whose bourne no travelers return - puzzles the will" In Hamlet, this refers to death.

    It's the name of Emmet Cole's television show.
  2. Feb 8, 2012 #2 of 49


    Mar 21, 2007
    ;)...that's nice; any eye candy?
  3. Feb 8, 2012 #3 of 49

    tiams New Member

    Apr 19, 2004
    What is it we are supposed to be watching here? We have the tapes Emmett filmed of himself, the video from the static cameras on the ship which takes place in current time, and clips from the old show. The rest is what the film crew taped while they were searching for Emmett, right? So this footage eventually made it back to civilization and was edited (adding bleeps and pixelation)? Weird that the labels on the canned goods were pixellated.
  4. Feb 8, 2012 #4 of 49

    danterner Not it!

    Mar 4, 2005
    Greenacres, FL
    Yes, you got it right. Clark made a comment that he would edit it as they went, so it's not clear whether the bleeps and pixelation were done by him at the time or later, after his footage was found. I loved that the can labels were pixelated and that curses were bleeped - lended great verisimilitude, since that's what he would have done if the food company wasn't a sponsor of the documentary.
  5. Feb 8, 2012 #5 of 49

    DLiquid Progressive User

    Sep 17, 2001
    I had no idea what this show was, so I was caught totally off guard. I'm a fan of the found footage genre. When done right it has the power to make you feel like you're there. For example, in the subway tunnel in Cloverfield. That didn't happen for me here, in The Amazon Witch Project. The show felt very rushed. I felt like they didn't give any time for suspense to build up. Things just happened too fast. Mom drowns, they find and dig up a corpse, mom comes back to life, all in the span of a few show minutes. Speaking of that sequence of events, there were plenty of eye rolling moments, and a lot of ideas recycled from past works. "Oh my gosh, we were running away from the doll shrine, but we ran right back to it!" So original. I didn't realize that they recycled all of Hamlet.

    I spent much of the show wondering how they would make a series out of this, since I am not willing to watch several seasons of a search for the father. When after it was over I learned it was only 8 episodes, my opinion of the show totally changed. The show had its moments, and I think as a mini-series it could be pretty entertaining. A show like this is more appealing to me when I know it will have an ending and that it is all planned out from the start, unlike many serialized shows. I will keep watching.
  6. Feb 8, 2012 #6 of 49

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    I had too many conflicts last night (and a hockey game to watch as well) to record this. Reviews I read were mixed. Are they repeating this? Is it worth seeking out?
  7. Feb 8, 2012 #7 of 49

    getreal postcrastinator

    Sep 29, 2003
    I like it quite a bit!

    I am apparently not a Shakespeare scholar, but from the OP's comparisons, it still looks great to me.

    Check it out, for sure!
  8. Feb 8, 2012 #8 of 49

    kettledrum Active Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Fishers, IN
    Shoot - I was going to record this, but didn't know it was on already.
  9. Feb 8, 2012 #9 of 49

    Cainebj Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    New York
    I gave it 30 minutes and turned it off and deleted the SP.

    Poor use of the found footage handheld documentary stylization and the hidden beastie in the trees? Nope.
  10. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Garden obsessed

    Aug 1, 2004
    My back yard
    We recorded it and I'm looking for opinions on whether to watch it or not... :D
  11. danterner

    danterner Not it!

    Mar 4, 2005
    Greenacres, FL
    It's only 8 hours so it's not a huge time investment. It's definitely worth what I paid to see it. :)

    I say watch it. It's not great, but it was entertaining and I was pleasantly surprised by it.
  12. jamesbobo

    jamesbobo with a grain of salt

    Jun 18, 2000
    I'm surprised several people didn't know what to expect. This show was hyped to death. "From the makers of Paranormal Activity". Even if you FF through commercials there's still newspaper and magazine print ads, articles, radio advertisements, billboards and web ads. I knew what this was about well before it aired.
    I don't think it lived up to the hype. No scares or suspense the entire time, and I liked Paranormal Activity.
  13. Alfer

    Alfer New Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    The thing that turned me off from wanting to see if was that teaser commercial that showed that big green "monster" claw grab ahold of the boat.

    I may On Demand it just to see if it's worthy of adding to our winter shows list...I know my wife sort of likes creepy monster/ghost shows so she may dig it.
  14. DreadPirateRob

    DreadPirateRob Seriously?

    Nov 11, 2002
    I was kind of "meh" about it, but I have to admit the Tree O'Dolls was downright spooky. And the blonde is hot, so I will probably stick around for the limited run. I don't see how this goes beyond this short season, though.
  15. eddyj

    eddyj SeƱor Member TCF Club

    Jun 20, 2002
    South Florida
    So is this supposed to be 8 episodes and be done? Or are they hoping to extend it to more seasons? As a miniseries, I might watch it, but it would get old fast.
  16. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    Oct 17, 2000
    I read somewhere...I can't find it now and I don't know if this came from anybody official or is speculation/wishful thinking...that it might be structured like American Horror Story, with each "season" being in effect a more-or-less stand-alone mini-series.
  17. gossamer88

    gossamer88 UHDTV Snob

    Jul 26, 2005
    Da Bronx
    I deleted the SP after the 1st episode. :thumbsdown:
  18. avery

    avery New Member

    May 29, 2006
    New York
    Wish I had taken more notice of that monster claw during all those teasers... was thinking just another spooky, unknown force. [i.e., the Smoke Monster] Not a fan of horror or the occult. Nearly stopped watching 3 times in the first hour and almost didn't watch the second at all, when I decided to give the full airing a chance. Nope. Visually too dark and kinetic for me to fully enjoy but I did find the OP's Hamlet comparison really interesting!
  19. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

    Jan 16, 2002
    Los Angeles
    My synopsis would be: Family and friends searching for world famous explorer Emmet Cole (think of a cross between Jacques Cousteau and Marlin Perkins) who went missing the the Amazon River area.

    Weird sh*t happens.

    Although I'm not a fan of the Blair Witch style of cinematography, the story is kind of interesting in the setup and it's got the Spielberg factor.
    I figure I'm in for the next episodes.

    The ratings were only fair for this though.
    It scored a 2.4 in 18-49.
  20. Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

    Feb 22, 2002
    I really don't buy the Hamlet analogy (and you've got some bits from the wrong plays mixed in there besides). I could probably make just as apt a character mapping from Hamlet to half the shows on the air, or from this to a dozen other plays or books.

    I'm not a big fan of horror and I didn't find any of it scary or creepy. I also feel like the "found footage" gimmick, while done well, is going to become tedious quickly. So I'm not sure how long my interest will be sustained. But what they did, they did well, I'll grant them that. And Jahel might be worth a certain amount of sustained interest. I also found it very compelling having a father-daughter team as mechanics.

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