Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi’

We can’t stop here Dave, this is Dalek Country.

I was thinking of watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for a review, but I had a problem. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson dropped a seed into my brain, and I can’t think about the movie without dealing with that seed.

Allow me to quote from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…

What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped to create… a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody – or at least some force – is tending that Light at the end of the tunnel.

Sci-Fi was basically mired in that self-same belief for decades. If you read all of the Space Odyssey books, you find that there are more Monoliths are more numerous than just the movie makes them seem. There are many monoliths and the reason for them is that a super-advanced race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings sent them to earth was to advance our evolution from one stage to another. Eventually they decide we’re cool and let us into their mouse club just like a Monty Python sketch!

Now, do me a favor and go read the bit about the acid culture again.

I can’t get this idea out of my head that Arthur C. Clarke fell into the same sort of trap along with a lot of other writers. Star Trek does it, B5 does it, Dr. Who does it. Asimov doesn’t do it as directly, but he does some. So many of the writers, names and stories I’ve mostly forgotten now, so many aliens and supercomputers playing as a stand in for God. There seems to be this need to reach out to a god, or a super-advanced race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings, or possibly just a really smart robot. Star Wars doesn’t, and I’ve noticed that’s one of the reasons some sci-fi fans hold it in contempt. You could argue that The Force is appealing, but I argue that it’s just a sort of unfocused spiritualism. More of a way to define the walls of the tunnel than any sort of light tender.

I have noticed though, that it happens a lot more with older sci-fi than the newer stuff. By newer I mean the mid 90s or so, because… you know. I remember some of Heinlein, and Philip K. Dick being very down on the idea of religion as a whole. English movies and TV shows were much more apt to say either there was no God, or we were alone in the universe during the 80s. Red Dwarf and Hitchhiker’s Guide come to mind. Rationalism came to Sci-Fi in the way the genre always pretended it subscribed to. A wave of atheism rolled in after a while, and then rolled back as people who should have embraced the idea of humanity doing it for itself drifted back into their deeply conservative ways while nominally holding liberal views. Gods and super-advanced races of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings were once again all the rage, lending a helping hand or leaving us in our purgatories with that unexplained polar bear.

So now, you can stand near a closed down book store, and with the right kind of eyes, you can almost see that high-water mark. The place where the wave broke and rolled back. Or maybe there was no wave, maybe it was just a small ripple of rationalism in an otherwise over-godded pond.

So yeah, Hunter S. Thompson and Arthur C. Clarke referenced in the same post. Not everyone does that. Next time I’ll talk about what My Little Pony and the Russian Revolution have to do with each other.

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Wait, I’ve been away how long? It’s been when since I last wrote a review? Where was I during that time. Oh yeah, that. Well, if I don’t get back on that horse, I may never get back on. The problem of course is that the longer you’re away, the bigger your return needs to be. I need to go either really obscure or really popular. The problem is that I also need to get back up to speed, so I’ll go for something in between. This is both obscure and popular.

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Rollerball (1975- United Artists – Dir. Norman Jewison)

So this one has sort of an odd story. Rollerball was mentioned in the essay “You think that movie is bad?” and since then, Rollerball has become third in the list of search terms used to find this little blog. I found it sort of depressing that people might be coming here looking for a review of the movie and not finding one, despite it being one of my Sci-Fi Greats. So let’s talk about one of the truly great sci-fi/corporate nightmare movies. Really though, it’s just a dystopian movie because, there isn’t much that’s really advanced technology in the movie. Take away the strange TV sets and one scene with a laser gun and it could have happened in ‘75 when the movie was made. The only things that are required for this to become a reality are all social developments.

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Blade Runner (1982/ The Ladd Company/ Dir. Ridley Scott)

There isn’t much to say about the movie Blade Runner really. Well, there isn’t much new to say at any rate. It’s not a movie that has been ignored as a discussion point over the years, so why review it? Well, I’m going to go from the angle I went with for the recent review of Jurassic Park and compare it to the source material, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I’ll be honest now and say that I enjoy both the movie and the book, so I won’t attack one using the other as a bludgeon. I will say I enjoy them both in different ways, and I hope to explore that in this review. So let’s have a look at the two and hopefully get you to either read one or watch the other. As another note, there are several versions of this movie running around. Instead of picking this version or that version, I decided to review the two major versions. As well as the book, I’ve decided to review The International Cut and The Final Cut for this review. I could have done some of the others, but the review is already late as it is so let’s just go with that.

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Jurassic Park (1993/Universal/Dir. Steven Spielberg)

I decided to re-read the book before watching the movie, which might be considered a mistake by some people. I know people who would have said I should have skipped one or the other of my experiences, but I had my reasons. I wanted to be able to compare the two products, movie and book and see what the differences were. My thoughts can be condensed, and then expanded upon. Jurassic Park: The Book is kind of a dumb diatribe against science, written by a profoundly stupid man. Jurassic Park: The Movie is a fun movie with a few weak spots. I’ll expand on those two statements, but that’s the gist of my feelings.

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The Greats: Sci-Fi

Posted: November 27, 2010 in Top Lists
Tags: , , , , , ,

We all like Science Fiction, right? Maybe? A little? Well, you should, and here are the ten movies from that genre that you should see.

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Tales from the Darkside – Distant Signals (Season 2, Episode 8; First Broadcast November 17, 1985; Laurel Productions; Dir. Bill Travis)

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I always meant to have more TV reviews, but the truth is I don’t watch much TV. Is Lost still on? I don’t know. That joke’s gonna just get funnier and funnier the longer I put off actually posting this particular review. The thing is, I’m not all that into TV shows. Some people really like post 90s TV, with their continuing storylines that can stretch the entire season or even further. Me? I like the stripped down storytelling that a movie forces on the filmmaker. I don’t have to invest a huge amount of time, or examine each and every character in detail. I will admit, when I watch a TV show with a continual storyline, I like those shows better. Having everything tie up in a neat little package at the end of every episode bugs the hell out of me. Still, I’m a short story fan, even reading I prefer short stories to extended novels. Is it any wonder then, that my favorite kind of show is the anthology series? And is it any wonder that my favorite anthology series is Tales from the Darkside?

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Young Einstein (1988 Warner Bros. Dir. Yahoo Serious)

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