I was super stoked for El Camino, the Breaking Bad movie. In fact, I rewatched BB in its entirety, all 62 episodes, to prepare for the movie. God, that was one fantastic show, perhaps the best series ever written.
This review contains spoilers. Get out now!
But I was disappointed in El Camino. The actors were all great, of course, nothing against them, but you know what? Breaking Bad was Walter White (Bryan Cranston), not Jesse. Now, I love Aaron Paul. He could totally star in his own show, and I would watch it, but BB was Walt’s show. Without Walt, I was like, meh, who cares?
This is a different criticism from the one I have about Better Call Saul, which is that the slick, wisecracking, one-dimensional character of Saul Goodman was perfect for BB, and reimagining him as street punk “Slippin’ Jimmy” and then as an idealistic young lawyer who gets shafted by his own brother, was just all too JTS (jumping the shark). The Goodman character was not made for this much baggage. I don’t think I made it through S2.
But with all the crazy stuff that happened on BB, I never once went okay that’s it… the show is now JTS. Even with the Nazis. Nope. It was still solid. Start to finish. It left a few minor threads hanging, such as why did Gus leave Chile with a fake name? They mentioned that twice but left the gun on the table.
Back to El Camino. There wasn’t much of a plot. There were some historical revisionist convos, a couple of which looked odd on screen because the actors appear their current age. Jesse is fine because he’s young anyway. Walt in the diner looked sick as he was supposed to, but I thought Jesse was talking to Mike’s ghost for a minute. That was bizarre. And Todd looks older and heavier now than he did during the original filming, so when they shovel in this new scene, right after I just watched the old eps, um… Weird.
The writing was great. All the characters were in top form. Jesse, Badger, Skinny Pete, Jesse’s clueless parents, etc. But without Walt… I just didn’t care. I knew Jesse would end up escaping this time. You could just tell that the whole point of the movie was to give fans of Jesse a reason to cheer. Yay, he gets to start a new life! He’ll meet a cute Alaskan girl in about 5 minutes after the credits roll.
Anyway. This reinforces my idea not to watch either the prequel series to Game of Thrones or The Many Saints of Newark. The appeal of GOT hinged on the specific characters played by the specific actors and their relationships. I dgaf about Martin’s pretend world, except for the dragons. The dragons are cool. But this is Star Trek all over again for me ~ it wasn’t the plots and tech that hooked me but the characters and their relationships. I was happy to watch the Star Trek movies with those same characters, but the new show, new characters, new movies? Get off my lawn. And The Sopranos was Tony Soprano. (RIP Jim G) That’s it. I’m not interested in his lookalike son playing a younger Tony. Why should I care what made Tony into Tony via not-Tony when I already had all that real Tony?
Image from Pixabay.
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