Showing posts with label Science Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science Fiction. Show all posts

Script Doctoring: Independence Day: Resurgence Review

Independence Day: Resurgence is known for its panoramic beauty complete with high-tech gadget living and social advancements that reveal a world where everything has gone right. Unlike the first film, earthlings have worked out its problems and joined as a single, human entity. Although Resurgence isn't a bad movie, you can't help but feel like something is missing. Cameos appear in galore with some characters having passed away while others, including the kids, have moved on to great and wonderful things. And, since the great battle of Independence Day played such a big role in everyone's lives, all the kids have careers in the Air Force too. Yet, despite all this plenitude, something is missing. This film only got a little more than 1 star on Netflix and I think I know why. Narrative unity. There wasn't a strong enough theme to keep this war story together.

Scooby-Doo on the Next Star Trek Show?

Who Can't Love
this Guy?
Ever since Disney Corporation took over Star Wars and Star Trek, we've stood at the precipice of a mega-corp take over on a planetary scale. To be honest, it's a harsh reality, but something most geeks are happy to endure as reboots tickle their fancy enough despite many of them being far worse than their not-so-distant awful cousin, the 80s sequel. Lucas referred to mega-corp Disney as "the white slave traders" but it didn't stop him from selling out to them either. We might as well associate the good times with Mickey Mouse - and by the way, Mickey eat your heart out! Literally, please. Not only will you never go public domain, we can look forward to seeing you on the starship Enterprise too. You'll be commanding, under Minny of course, because the mega-corp will try to be politically correct to keep sales going. But don't fret. In that age, even Hanna-Barbera will sell out too. Which is why Scooby's appearance will seem both entertaining and appropriate. Ugh.

Star Wars, Revisited.
The Call for a Public Domain Insurgency.

Star Wars owned by the Empire
On October 30th, 2012, George Lucas, billionaire and Star Wars creator, sold his franchise to the "white slave traders" a.k.a. Walk Disney Corporation. The Empire. The "trader" analogy was soon followed by an apology alongside a muted jeer for Bob Iger's leadership via a personal statement. To say this sale was bittersweet would be an understatement. Lucas struggled with the release of Star Wars: Force Awakens, and although many loved the film (this blogger excluded), one couldn't help but think that Stars Wars was taken over by the executives Lucas fought so hard during his tenure as filmmaker. But was it really necessary? There was another option. George Lucas could have earned a place in history as the patron saint of public domain rather than the dejected Star Wars creator living in obscurity. Yes. George Lucas could have been the first billionaire filmmaker to give away his entire franchise to public domain.

Attack of The Crab Monsters (1957)
How Pacing and Style Keeps Low-Budget Interesting

Roger Corman's Attack of the Crab Monsters is a 1950s drive-in classic that turned a $70K budget into a $1M profit. Despite being a mega-monster film about radioactive land crabs eating human beings, the Crab Monsters has little to no special effects. Corman relied exclusively on plot devices to keep the audience interested. This makes Crab Monsters an interesting film to study as it shows the beauty and power of great screenwriting. The screenwriter in question is Charles B. Griffith, a man who cleverly spun a tale about giant crab monsters with only a few scenes of exposition and a lot of tension in between. Consider Crab Monsters to be a Hitchcock-inspired thriller that's weird, fun and perfect for kids. There isn't a boring frame in it and a mysterious virtuoso violin that plays in the background sets a foreboding mood while the team of researchers investigate the mystery of the previous expedition team.

The True Meaning of Star Trek
Rene Auberjonois & John De Lancie Panel at Ottawa Comiccon 2016

At the age of 50, Star Trek shows no sign of slowing down. What started as a "wagon to the stars" sci-fi adventure story quickly turned into a hit phenomenon to include all people from all places all over the world. This bold mission encourages diversity, courage and love for all creatures big and small - and galaxy-wide. At Ottawa Commiccon 2016, John de Lancie and Rene Auberjonois shared the stage for a Q&A panel about Star Trek turning 50. They talked about what led them to T.V., how they got on Star Trek and what they think the franchise is all about.

Interstellar as Zen Koan Leading to Love

Zen Buddhism is perhaps one of the oldest religions in the world. Its main purpose is to induce a state of enlightenment through a practice called meditation, an emptying of the mind. Meditation is often used in conjunction with another technique called a koan. A koan is a paradoxical riddle that befuddles the practitioner to the point of frustration and enlightenment. A famous example would be: Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Another example: How does a man give himself coordinates for outer space if he needs to go into outer space to get the coordinates? Answer: Interstellar.

(Spoiler Alert - The ending revealed in more ways than one)

The First Scene of Terminator Salvation (2009)

Terminator Salvation is a sci-fi operatic war story that centers around a hero - John Connors - whose destiny is to save humanity from artificially intelligent machines. The story runs like an American militiaman's nightmare where personal freedom is lost at the behest of a terrible New World Order. Fighting Americans, scattered throughout, are glued to their transistor radio with the hopes that Connors will make Resistance dreams come true. Salvation views like a visually panoramic Mad Max film with cheesy Godzilla-like machine monsters that breath fire on its victims. So what's so horrible about the first scene? A plot device gone wrong.

Would Joseph Campbell Like the New Star Wars?

Star Wars is often associated with the special effects grandeur introduced by George Lucas in the late 70s. New heroes and new aliens captured our imagination as well as the really cool planets they lived on. Of course, we can't forget the truly awesome X-Wing and Tie Fighters that sparred in the depths of space. But that's what  not Star Wars is all about. The story had a soul and that soul came from the inspiration of one man -  Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who popularized the notion of the hero’s journey.

Why Ascension Didn't Make the Cut

The news is in: Ascension isn’t going to outer space or the Syfy channel for that matter. It has been turned down as a running series for good. Syfy claimed to be happy with the work, but when considering other projects, Ascension just didn’t make the grade. While the mini-series garnered some positive reviews, it was clear that the show wasn’t very much liked. In the least, it earned only mixed reactions. Critics weren’t bashful in their negative appraisals of the show either. Items such as characterization, plot and other mundane issues (such as how artificial gravity worked on the ship) were at the forefront of blogs and news articles alike. Although most agreed that Ascension was an interesting thought experiment, thought experiments don’t usually make good television. Drama does.

2001: A Space Odyssey Ending

Where were you when 2001: A Space Odyssey ended? That was the movie where the blessed Star Child took off into outer space with a Mona Lisa smile as the rest of us just sat there, confused, somewhat dejected. Commander Bowman encountered a time distortion that showed him several Bowman's at several points in time until it finally turned into a shiny, brand new fetus with a heavenly smile floating back to Earth. The scene was unforgettable because we didn't know what just happened. Then, we covered it up. "I got it, did you?" "Of course, I did." "He... evolved!" Of course. Why not? Isn't that what we just watched for over a couple of hours? Evolution? Apes, humans, computers, then a Star Child? Makes perfect sense. No it doesn't. But here's a theory as to what may have happened.

The Tragedy of Quothen Leth - The Zero Theorem (2014)

The Zero Theorem, by Terry Gilliam, is a tragi-comedic tale easily mistaken for another Brazil. The world seems superficial and dangerous. The streets are crowded and filthy. Everyone has gone cosplay crazy with Batman as their new messiah. At the center of it all is one Quothen Leth, an honest man sucked into the black hole of his lonely, shallow environment. But Terry Gilliam has a deeper story to tell, one that cleverly exposes Leth's true predicament. Leth, in many ways, is an anti-hero who shows how dystopia can be self-induced rather than imposed by the state. It's a story about a man who creates his own misery and it is this that makes The Zero Theorem different from Brazil.

Why the Atomic Submarine Did Not Rock My World

Spoiler Alert!
I just watched a film called, The Atomic Submarine produced in the late 50s. I've taken a liking to these old films. I'm not sure what it is that draws me to them; it's something I've been interested in for many years. Yet, on the other, I always feel disappointed when I watch them.

If you see enough, a pattern starts to develop. You've got the egghead scientists who figure out ways to kill the alien monsters. You've got the military men who figure out ways to kill the monsters. You've got cute women who keep saying they could kill monsters too.

I said I liked the movies. I didn't say they were mature.

The Atomic Submarine like most action movies follow a simple formula. There is a problem, complications and a resolution. It's fun to watch. I don't mind the low-budget special effects. In fact, it makes it all the better for me because I want to enjoy the story.

Ten Classic Star Trek Episodes that Inspired World Peace

Star Trek is known for many things, mostly technological. But this fledgling series also promoted values that keep society and the American Dream available for all.

Classic Star Trek's The Doomsday Machine (1967)

Click to Purchase
The Doomsday Machine (Marc Daniels) aired on October 20th 1967, episode #35 of the Star Trek Classic series. It was written by Norman Spinrad (1940); a New York science fiction author whom at the time, had written three novels entitled The Solarians, Agents of Chaos and The Men in the JungleThis episode takes the Enterprise crew into system L370 after receiving a garbled distress call from an unknown source identified only as “Constellation”. Kirk immediately recognizes the name, but soon finds even more disturbing information: the entire L370 system has been blown to pieces!

Was Spock more Lover than Logical?

We've heard it through the classic Star Trek series as well as the spin-offs that came afterwards: Logical this, logical that. Our pointed-ear friend had something to say on just about everything. The crew put up with him despite his arrogance and snide remarks. But this lovable Vulcan still held his grip on everyone.

Every Star Trek crew has its social miscreant. These people don't fit in but display honourable traits we have grown to love. Spock was the first of his kind. His logic often made him the butt of jokes, but even the Enterprise crew could see more in him than that. He displayed a genuine concern for the people around him.

In Star Trek V, Spock felt insulted when Kirk claimed that everyone has human qualities. We all have feelings about one another, he says, we all care. It is interesting because Kirk's message was what Earthlings tried to teach Spock in the original Star Trek era. Spock saw it as illogical, but, in reality, it was logic based on a different value system.