Episode #18 - An In-Depth Review

"To Be a Warrior"
BJ QUOTES
[From the Introduction] "Hello! I'm Brian Jacques and welcome to Redwall. The good creatures of the Abbey were busy trying to solve the numerous riddles that would lead them to their children. But, Matthias and his search party have been buried in a landslide that Slagar the Fox had arranged! Now, it is up to Mattimeo to rescue them. Let's watch this exciting episode of Redwall!"

[When asked about Games] "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So, I suppose the Redwallers, young and old, must have had their times when they liked to play. They must have liked their fetes and their festivals and their fairs. When they had all the things that would be enjoyable.

Sport. Play. Lovely. It's the things of youth, isn't it? The things that children like to do. Even children of my age!"

[Character Spotlight on Cheek] "Cheek's not only a name, it's also an expression! If you're givin' impudence, 'Don't be cheeky!' And Cheek is an otter. I like otters. Otters are very nautical, very acrobatic creatures. And Cheek is a little orphan who attaches himself to the party. And he's lots of help and he's lots of fun. He's one of the good guys, Cheek. I like Cheek a lot."

[ASK THE AUTHOR Segment] "What gave you the idea to use Matthias' name as 'I Am That Is'?"

"Well, really, I love to play around with words and the magic of words. Words are wonderful things. You can elongate words, you can shorten them, you can add bits on. So, I love word puzzles and anything. And Matthias was very simple: 'I Am That Is'. Well, of course, there was an 'I' missing. So I put, 'I, Matthias'. I just sat looking at it on a piece of paper and then I wrote the words in a cir- the letters in a circle- M A T T H I A S- in a circle. And I looked at it and I thought, 'What other word could you make out of that?' And there comes 'I Am That' and then I just had an S left over, so I thought, 'I, Matthias'. 'I Am That Is'. Boomp! Got it."

SUMMARY OF NEW FOOTAGE

The episode opens with last week's tapestry shots in reverse. The order is now: 1) A line of chained mice (meant to be the slaves) in green habits. One (Tess, I assume) is crouching towards the river where a dagger rests in the water; 2) Matthias, Orlando, and the others running into the cave, weapons drawn; and 3) Slagar and two of his men pushing the rocks off the cliff.

There's a short scene of Log-A-Log and the GUOSIM hearing the landslide.

There is a short scene, after the reading of the Loamscript tablet, where Cornflower speaks to the tapestry, wishing there was some way for Matthias to know help is on the way.

After Tess tell's Matti he is a warrior, the episode fades into the tapestry shots. This time around they are: 1) Matthias poking a hole in the rubble with Orlando's axe; 2) Warbeak flying next to the stone-crow on the Abbey wall; and 3) Slagar standing triumphant on a clifftop.


CHANGES FROM BOOK

- The events leading to the discovery that John Churchmouse knew how to read Loamscript is changed. In the book, Mordalfus recalls easily that John was the only mouse clever enough to learn Loamscript from old Methuselah. Now, though, Mordalfus is trying to remember who it was that learned Loamscript when John walks in and says "John Churchmouse was his name." This change was due to time constraints, I'm sure.

- Mordalfus, Cornflower, Constance, and Foremole recite John's written translation of the poem rather than John reciting it all himself.

- The Loamscript poem is abridged and shuffled a bit. It now reads: "Take this graven page and seek; what my words in stone could mean; Somewhere twixt our earth and sky; Birds and gentle breezes roam; What can't fly yet, has a beak; Mixed up letters evergreen; Good fortune now and on your way." The full poem (seventeen lines rather than the seven in the show) can be found on page 158 (hardcover edition) of the book.

- Orlando wonders aloud what "magic" allows them to see in the dark and Jabez replies that many caves have a "natural glow in their walls". In the book, they couldn't see in the darkness and Cheek complained about not being able to even see his hands in front of his eyes.

- In the scene where Slagar beats Mattimeo with a cane, the book says Matti didn't even feel the blows and curled his lip in defiance. In the show, you see a tear form in Matti's eye. To be fair, I took the tear to be, not one of pain, but of sadness over having his father trapped underground. Still, the timing was unfortunate.

- Martin's lines in Matthias' dream were removed. "Why do you sleep, Warrior? You must save your son and his friends.", and "A warrior who sleeps in time of danger is no warrior but a coward!" Couldn't get Martin's VA, perhaps?

- Only the first four lines of the second poem are recited (although they do admit that it's only the opening verse).


VOICE CRITIQUES

Log-A-Log (Bruce Dow) - Back from the first season, Bruce Dow's Log-A-Log hasn't changed much. I'm still not thrilled with the gypsy-ness of the GUOSIM, but I can't fault them for maintaining continuity.

Skan (John Stocker) - Judging by his voice alone, Skan is a vermin who looks like a shrew-- exactly as it should be. ;)


CRITIQUE

By now I've no doubt made it quite clear that I'm overjoyed with the treatment Mattimeo's been given. This episode doesn't disappoint. It features in it one of the most pivotal moments in the entire book: Mattimeo's defiant "You should have killed me back at the canyon....you're not only a cowardly murdering scum, you're a fool. Because, from now on I live with one purpose: to kill you." followed by "Get yourself another cane and try harder, half-face!" As the book's narrative states, this is when Mattimeo becomes a warrior. While the inclusion of a tear detracted from the scene, in my humble opinion, it still carried with it the importance and weight it deserved. In an age where censors glom on to every little thing, especially the word "kill", it's nice to see that Redwall seems to have eluded them. I shudder at what the scene would have been like were it not word-for-word (or close enough, anyway).

The cave scene was well done, although I was disappointed when Martin didn't speak. Nevertheless, this was an excellent episode that not even my dislike of the "gypsy GUOSIM" could bring down. ;)

The tapestry shot of Matthias with the axe was very nice. You know, if Nelvana were smart (not to suggest they're not, of course), they'd release some of those as lithographs. I'd certainly buy them. I'll put it right next to the soundtrack on my "wish-list".

On to episode #19!




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Matthias