Sunday, April 17, 2016

Eye on Sci-Fi - The Expanse, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Woman in the Moon, Women in Star Wars, Orphan Black

By Ken Parker

I have not written an article for this column for quite some time but I am back now – Yeah!! Lots of things to talk about so let’s go.

The Expanse So I watched this mini series and having read the first book – Leviathan Awakes I was eager to see how much of the series followed the novel.  Unfortunately I appear to have a memory block on that book and I do not remember much of it.  I felt that the series was a lot slower than the novel.  Still, I found the series to be interesting enough to keep watching and look forward to the second season which will begin in 2017.  I like the look and feel of the series but the characters were difficult to enjoy.

2001: A Space Odyssey – So I was able to watch my favorite sci fi movie of all time on the big screen recently.  Sure, it was probably a blu-ray in my local theater chain but still.  I found I was not as blown away as I hoped because I felt the audio was just okay and the video was pixelated quite a bit – 1080 on a big screen is okay but it would have been great to see a 4K or even better, actual film.  I did continue to see stuff I had not seen before in the film and still marvel at the effects each and every time I watch this film. This was sort of a mini bucket list item for me but I do hope for a better quality 50th anniversary release in a few years.

Woman In The Moon - Ever heard of this movie?  I hadn't until recently and just watched it on blu-ray.  The movie is a silent 1929 German film by Fritz Lang (Metropolis) and is about a journey to the moon.  The film boasts accurate science and when you see the film it certainly seems to justify this
for quite a while in the film.  Rockets were still science fiction in 1929 and this film was heavily influential on the real creations of rockets in Germany.

Not only that but you will recognize so many sci fi tropes like the rocket countdown, traveling to the moon, stages of a rocket, caves on the moon, eccentric professor and stowaway kid.  This movie will actually remind you a little of Lost in Space because of this.  The film also looks like many of the films of the 40's and 50's where astronauts went to the moon or an alien planet like Rocketship XM and so on.

How else to test for air on the moon but light a match?
The film drags for quite a while but does have a good sense of humor and some well designed characters.  The effects are fairly good for the most part.  Certainly the science is not all accurate and once they get to the moon the science is a bit out the door as there is an atmosphere there.

Still, the film is a great curiosity and sci fi fans should give it a try.

Fantastic Beasts – I think I am all Harry Pottered out to tell you the truth.  After watching the final movie I did not have enough enthusiasm to even read The Deathly Hallows novel.  I enjoyed the series but have had enough.  And yet, after seeing this trailer I do see now that I am missing the whole magic world of JK Rowling and so my interest is risen ever so slightly.

Orphan Black – was back this week and it did some flashbacking.  There is also an after show happening, after the show!

When Sci Fi becomes reality

Hardcore Henry – So I saw the point of view movie Hardcore Henry and was impressed with many aspects of it.  The technology behind the movie is interesting and it certainly shows that more and more of this type of film making can happen.  The idea is forced in that the game playing generation will be fine but others may have trouble with the concept.  The idea that you are the point of view of this non talking person definitely puts you into the action of the movie and at times it is just like a game.  The story is sci fi on all levels but just as the story elements get interesting the action gets in the way.  Even though the movie is just over 90 minutes it feels longer.  I love action but the over the top action might have been slightly, well, over the top and too long.  Seeing it on the big screen is a bonus for sure and the film opens up for sequels.  The movie is crazy at times which is a good thing.

Misfits remake – The US is remaking another foreign TV series (because that is what they do).  Misfits was a hard edged superhero like series with a bunch of delinquents who should be the last people in the world to have super powers.  The series was excellent for the first couple of seasons.  The remake will feature on Freeform which used to be ABC Family.  Not sure how a show so edgy can be put on a channel like this but I guess we shall see.  Josh Schwartz (Chuck) is helming the project.  Here is the original series trailer -

Star Wars – The Force Awakens – It has been so long since I wrote for the column that the Star Wars – The Force Awakens movie has premiered and taken the world by storm. My easy answer impressions of the movie are that it is at least my 4th favorite Star Wars movie, ahead of the prequels for sure.  I found it as enjoyable as the original trilogy and wanted to see more right away.  It was great to see Han Solo, Chewbacca, C3P0, R2-D2 and Leia but it was the new characters that made the movie.  Rey as portrayed by Daisy Ridley and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) stole the show.  I so badly want to see them in a rematch and I find their relationship and different paths to the Force to be fascinating.  The movie was not perfect of course and years of expectations are difficult to factor into our views of the movie.  I can see why someone might have trouble with the film as it was not going to ever be the original movie trilogy.  It broke every box office record and so the haters are a very minor part of this whole thing because even they saw it.  Well, not everyone saw it. See below.

Rogue One – A Star Wars Story – How is it possible that the Star Wars spin-off movie can look better than The Force Awakens?  I don’t know but it sure does.  I am not a big fan of prequels and while we know how this ends ultimately, we may not know about the individuals in the movie.

One thing of note, the second biggest controversy for this story was all the people who accidentally stated that this film was about the Bothan spies who died getting this info.  HAHA – you are SO wrong.  I know more about Star Wars than you!!  Bothan spies were in Return of the Jedi!!!  (imagine spit flying out when a true fan picks up on this fact and let’s everyone who was wrong know about it.)  First off, sure, people got this wrong and they are paying a heavy price with loads of criticism.  It really is not a big deal but in reality let me ask you a question. Taking the comics and books out of the equation because they are not real canon no matter who says so (How dare you (spit) do that.  Of course they are (spit) canon.) where in the movies did they say that Bothan spies did NOT die while stealing the original plans?  Perhaps they did die while stealing the original plans.  Perhaps they are great spies and were used twice and that is why they died the second time as they blew their cover the first time.  Makes sense to me.  HA.

Here, let me help you you helpless little man.....
Female Heroes Take over Star Wars – some fans are upset.  Message for these fans – suck it.  First off, I love female leads and protagonists.  To me they are more interesting characters probably because 80% of all movies still have male dominate casting.  I also find women more interesting because I am not a woman.  On a shallow level I would rather look at a woman for 2 hours than a man but more seriously I just find the characters more interesting.  Who was my favorite character in Batman v Superman?  Wonder Woman?  Probably.

So why all the fuss?  Well, many Star Wars fans don’t like change and they are used to male dominated stories.  Look at the Star Wars movies.  Here is an example of all female lines in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Unbelievable.  And of course everything is being geared toward the young boy who wants Star Wars toys hence the lack of female characters.  This is true everywhere and even the Marvel films have begun to change this.  Fans who complain sort of fill this role as “The film is for boys or men, not girls, ewwww.”

I hope there is a Star Wars movie that comes out that has 90% female characters and maybe one or two male characters in the background.  That would be cool.

My anger in this stems from hearing about this but also the statement I read that people supposedly decided not to watch The Force Awakens because of a female lead.  First off, I do not believe this.  I think they are probably watching the film over and over again at home.  They think they want to prove something by not watching it – yeah, they proved they are idiots to the nth degree. 

The Mary Sue factor has reared its ugly head with the new character, Jyn Erso. Really?  Oh, boy, we had two Star Wars films in a row with a female lead.  Oh no!!  What are we to do?  Here is an open letter to fanboys that is so incredible.

To: Angry Fanboys
From: The Mary Sue

You’re right. We did it. We stole your Death Star plans.

Oh, it wasn’t easy. It took years—decades of planning to execute this plan. After all this time toiling under this idea that a woman can’t be a hero, after all this time watching dude after dude duke it out on-screen, we decided that it was time for us to take the story into our own hands. So while you were sleeping, the Mary Sues of the world all got together to hit you in your emotional thermal exhaust ports: your freaking childhood.

We’ve got your Death Star plans right here, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to realize just how much the plot of your favorite movie hinges on the actions of one woman (accompanied by a team full of dudes anyway). I guess it’s kind of like realizing that the name of your men’s rights movement is wholesale stolen from a movie written by two trans women. Oh, the irony. But I digress.

Read more here – its great!!  -

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