El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

When Breaking Bad ended I thought it was the best we would get for years. Even with so many great shows out there, Breaking Bad is without any rivals. It gave us the landmark for perfection. Nobody wanted the legacy of the show touched or messed with as it could potentially take away from it. But then creator Vince Gilligan shortly after the show’s end decided to make a prequel series that starred one of the favorites from Breakin Bad, with Saul Goodman. Everyone was skeptical about Better Call Saul and for all the right reasons. It seemed as if it would be a cash grab as Breaking Bad in the last couple of years took off and this would be a way to further capitalize on the franchise. It turns out that wasn’t the case. For one, Vince Gilligan could have gone on to do anything he wanted when Breaking Bad ended, and yet he stayed because he had more stories to tell in this realized world he created. When Better Call Saul premiered it was overall positive with some hesitation. The same was said about Breaking Bad when it premiered, and the further the show goes along the bigger the stakes and investments we have towards it. Today, Better Call Saul is heading into its fifth season next year and is servicing the characters in ways we didn’t expect. It’s not more Breaking Bad, but it’s close.

'El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie' film premiere, Arrivals, Regency Village Theatre, Los Angeles, USA - 07 Oct 2019

After the success of Better Call Saul, we were willing to go anywhere Vince Gilligan wants to take us and without question… until he confirms a movie post Breaking Bad. For a show that ended so perfectly, it’s sacrilege to us fans for him to touch it. As the movie nears we make exceptions for the movie if it’s bad, thinking we can just scrub it from our minds. However, when thinking about it the one person who would not want to ruin the magnum opus of a franchise is Vince Gilligan. That being said we know he would only do this if he had a great story to tell, and I’m happy he did.

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El Camino starts us off right where we left off in the finale of Breaking Bad. Walter White has just got his revenge against the men who killed Hank. Walt then saves Jessie. Jessie flees the scene as Walt dies. And here we are. The movie is about watching Jessie get himself away from the manhunt out for him. While Walt may no longer be with us he is still with Jessie. Jessie is using what he learned from Walt to access each problem head-on. Jessie is thinking three steps ahead and what we have with Jessie is still this sense of innocence. That’s something we lost with Walt near the end until he redeemed himself to us in the last episode. A lot of the movie is watching Jessie come up against dead ends and trying to escape. Every time it seems he may be stuck we see a flashback that helps give us context on how Jessie can see a way out. By the end, one may think this is it for Breaking Bad, but we’ve had so many returns to this world that I’m not so sure.

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There are many surprises to be found in El Camino and it keeps you nostalgic in a good way. It doesn’t hurt Breaking Bad whatsoever. If you thought you knew what happened to Jessie when he got in the car at the end of Breaking Bad, you would not have guessed this adventure. It made me so happy to see more Breaking Bad in every possible way.

El Camino is a perfect companion piece to the last episode of Breaking Bad and acts as a bittersweet epilogue to the series. Watch it on Netflix now.

Robert Ring

Breaking Bad

Besides a couple of twists and turns a roller coaster is generally pretty linear. You strap yourself in and wait for the mechanics to motion you forward for a ride that may last only for a sum of seconds, but will stay imprinted in your memory till you are old and grey. As the wheels press forward your hands clam tight against the safety harness.. oh yes shit is getting serious now. Panic and excitement fill around your rapidly beating heart, creating the greatest rush of adrenaline. The screams are contagious, and the excitement is shared in unison throughout the coaster with each stranger having shared a special journey together.

It’s a very special show this one, and like a roller coaster ride it’s an exciting journey to be had for those who are willing to have a go and see what all the fuss is about.

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Breaking Bad is a character portrait of it’s protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston). Like the title suggest Walt starts to crack, he breaks. This series illuminates the progression of Walt from light to darkness. Walt starts off in the beginning as a down on his luck family man who’s working two jobs just to support his family. An important factor to Walt is his intelligence. He was apart of a Nobel Prize winning team in chemistry years before, but his “smart choices”, the lack of seeing a future in the company he created with his colleagues showed him lose out on what became a multi-million dollar company. So a man with a level of intelligence meant for more is stuck working as a high school chemistry teacher, and part-time at a car wash. On his fiftieth birthday Walt is told he has lung cancer, which shifts all his worries towards his family’s wellbeing after he’s gone. With Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent brother-in-law, Walt gets the idea of producing crystal meth using his chemistry background. The idea is to stop as soon as he reaches an appropriate estimation of financial support for his wife in the years to come. As life cannot always be planed to such a degree, especially when you are playing with fire Walt is thrown into chaos time and time again. Along with Walt is his young protege Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who has a talent for cooking Walt’s special “blue crystal meth,” the purest on the market, a factor that saves their lives because of the demand and difficulty to create such a pure mix. Bryan Cranston is definitely television’s finest actor, which should make it difficult to find a worthy on screen opponent to challenge the rise of Walt, but n this case we also get one of the greatest villains ever seen on television, Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). These characters as well as those not mentioned could be talked about to no end, especially Walter White himself.

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Breaking Bad also has an art film quality to it at times, certain scenes are “slow” in a sense that you will watch a family dinner in all it’s awkwardness, which is an example of something that many people who are used to the normal flow of a television show struggle to watch. While it has it’s slow paces the drama is always at a high. That roller coaster adrenaline is in every episode of Breaking Bad and is always stirring inside as you watch, rising and rising with every episode. The most surprising thing throughout this show is the lack of sex and sex appeal, this is almost unheard of in everything, instead we see a very gritty world. Now the first season is the slowest moving and hardest for most new viewers to get into, however you should not fear this because the first season is the shortest, with only seven episodes which really takes off before the season’s end. If you can get through the first season nothing will stop you from jumping into this roller coaster and be taken on a journey with some of the most heart clutching and adrenaline fuelled moments ever seen on television. Now this is not the type of show you can just start half-way through either, every episode pays off in their chronological order, like all good cable shows. I’ve always known this show to be the best drama on television ever, and it subsequently topped my already great expectations frequently.

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Breaking Bad in my opinion is the best drama ever made on television!

The one thing that could have tainted a show as unique as this is the pay-off at the end, and by God they did it. The end was a beautiful send off to everything the show was heading to. On another note look at the first image in this post and the third image, can you see the juxtaposition of Walter White? The evolution of the man? In the first image he is standing in the center of a vast and empty desert with nothing to his name. In the second image he is sitting down, he is relaxed and in power with money and meth in great sums. These two images may seem spoiler like in a way, but they’re ones you would inevitably stumble upon anyway considering they represent the first and fifth season DVD covers. I do think it is the best way to sum up the show’s evolution, a glance at what you may be getting into. Does this alone not prove that Breaking Bad is the most bad ass show? See it for yourself.

Following this show for the duration of its run has been the greatest roller coaster ride I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding, with twists you will never guess breaking what could have been a very linear narrative, and I do understand that it will be a very long time before another show will ever have the same impact this show had on me.

Vince Gilligan I thank you, Bryan Cranston I thank you, and to the entire cast I thank you.. I thank you and I look forward to watching the spin-off prequel Better Call Saul.

Robert Ring