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I’ve spent a good part of this Sunday morning reading reviews of the Alien vs. Predator film. Given that Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil) made the thing, I expected incompetent film-making, but then a couple of weeks ago I watched a couple of trailers, and my expectations started to ascend. Upon reading the reviews, they’re come crashing down again, and at this point I may or may not watch the film when it comes out on DVD. Not a chance in hell I’ll make the effort to get out and see it on the silver screen.

Disappointment requires preparation, and this film has had more than a decade to prepare for its disappointing delivery. Oh well.

Out of the blue, for me, comes Firefly, a short-lived sci-fi/western tv show from the creator of Buffy the Vampire slayer. Lara and I have been renting the series on DVD from Netflix on the recommendation of her mother and of SGNP, and I’ve enjoyed it more than I’ve enjoyed any sci-fi series or move since… oh, I don’t know. Since the first couple of seasons of the X-Files, maybe. The new Battlestar Galactica, comes pretty close to Firefly in terms of delivering the goods, and it had the hurdle of my expectations to overcome.

The film and or TV sci fi event I now most eagerly anticipate is one I’ve never heard of; one I’ll probably not see until it’s months or years old. Some gem that will just drop into my lap without any advance notice.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2004 11:45 am (UTC)
You should check out Farscape.
The first season only shows glimpses of what it ended up becoming.
Aug. 15th, 2004 08:51 pm (UTC)
We're big fans of Farscape, too. After the first handful of episodes, I saw it very much out of sequence, so with the aid of Netflix, my wife and I are now working our way thru the series in chronological order.
Aug. 15th, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Farscape
I came into farscape with season 5. When I started watching, I was like...My GOD! Why haven't I been watching this already?!

Do you know about the 4 hour mini that's comming out later this year?
Aug. 16th, 2004 05:28 am (UTC)
Re: Farscape
Aug. 15th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC)
i was in the same boat. I have a feeling the reviews of AVP were more interesting than the movie. Thanks for the DVD Rental tip!
Aug. 17th, 2004 02:07 am (UTC)
I loved "Space Rangers: Fort Hope" which lasted, I think, a whopping 6 episodes.

My sci-fi loves have two main foci, both of which seem incompatable with mass-media.

The first is "Pulp sci-fi adventure", that era of adventure with rockets and tentacled space monsters replacing the horses and indians of the wild west. It has seen some wonderful film treatments, the 80's "Flash Gordon" movie being the pinnacle IMHO. Sadly, under modern sentiments its "Edge" is usually dulled to complete bluntness.

The second is the "Wonder" sci-fi, where the sci-fi is the coating around deep existential questions. Olaf Stapledon's big two books "Last and First Men" and "Star Maker" are good examples. For shorter stories, Asimov's "The Last Question" or Arthur C. Clarke's "Exile of the Aeons" are good.

If handled right, this second set can create the most profound of films. ("Things to Come" 1936 version) It can also make lame, insulting garbage only fluffed by special effects and cheesecake. (BOTH versions of "The Time Machine") As with the latter example, it seems Hollywood is allergic to things with real message and waste no time butchering anything that actually says something.

A kind of synergy of these two genres is the "Shades of Von Daniken" stuff, BattleStar Galactica being the pinnacle. However, from what I heard of the re-make (lobotomized into a Politicly Correct lame Terminator imitation) I won't see it so I do not get charged for a destroyed rental DVD. Seems both opposing forces worked against this one.

I haven't seen as much as I'd like to of Farscape, but in its own way it seems as good as "Babylon 5". I won't buy the DVD's at cover price, but I keep checking used stores so I'll get them sooner or later.
Aug. 17th, 2004 05:49 am (UTC)
Battlestar Galactica

I don't know what you've heard or read about the new Battlestar Galactica, but I think you've formed your opinion prematurely. I find the update superior to the source material by many orders of magnitude and on many fronts. Of course the special effects are better, but... finally!!! so are the physics of space combat. No more jet fighters in space firing laser guns (beyoo beyoo) and banking and rolling on non-existant air. The plot and themes are considerably more complex and adult than the black and white morality of the original show and the acting is top notch. The Cylons get little play in the mini-series, which I think speaks to the quality of the script. The simplest laziest way to drive a story is to pit a "good guy" group against an unequivocally malevolent external enemy. In the new Battlestar Galactica that conflict provides the backdrop and sets events in motion, but the internal dynamics of the "good guy" group, in this matured version of the familiar story, have suffiencient complexity to sustain the bulk of the story's drama.
Aug. 17th, 2004 10:56 am (UTC)
Space Godz
I guess what I "heard" had something to do with the story being completely scrubbed of its "Chariots of the Gods?" references. Is that true?

I don't give a sh-- if the producers considered Von Daniken a "kook" and that using the "Space Godz" concept would be detrimental to the marketability.

1. Battlestar Galactica's original concept was based around the hypothesis that man had an extraterrestrial origin. Re-doing the story without the fundamental concept is like the latest version of "The Time Machine".

2. From what science I've studied, I think it would likely be the "Panspermia"/bacteria. "Speeding up evolution" at most. We started here, IMHO. However, the stuff is still cool. Gets people to think. Also, as a very young kid, I cut my media 'teeth' watching things like "In Search Of" so I like this because I warped my young mind on it.

---So, I'll ask again, "Did they scrub it of the original references?"

I was interested by your comment on the space combat physics. IMHO, it was good in Babylon 5 because it depicted man still on an expanding course into space. Galactica (like Star Wars) had a civilization that had been in space for millenia and both were frankly done for gernsback appeal.

Also, if you have movement between the stars so easily a fundamental leap in physics is required so 'all bets are off' as to what will happen in making this or that feasable. My guess is that what will open up the stars is finding a way to 'touch' the quantum substrate, at once giving the ability to 'warp' from place to place instantly and at the same time the ability to use space like an 'etherial medium', therefore 'jets in space' would not be so far off. It would either be that, or just the huge space monolith ships duking it out, the former makes better fiction.

I remember seeing a very detailed website somewhere about "The physics of Star Wars". Although not impossible, it made a clear statement that their technology would have to be a higher level pretending to be a lower level. The lightsaber is the best. Totally possible, spin a small bit of matter at 99.999% of lightspeed and the physics will create all the effects seen in the show. However, if it were possible to do that in a sword hilt, a lightsaber would be unneccessary, mountains could be disentegrated with a blaster.

Hey, I'd scream about some elements of the Technology in "Light Years", where they depicted a 'biology based technology' written by someone who had little or no knowledge in that field. (one I studied, let me add) Still, I love that movie as one of my favorites because the story itself is so incredible. (Clearly category 2, from my earlier post)
Aug. 17th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC)
Re: Space Godz
Battlestar Galactica's original concept was based around the hypothesis that man had an extraterrestrial origin.L

That premise remains in the new series. The 12 colonies of Cobol (sp?) are all in one star system, so they don't have the Star Trek level space travel that allows them to pop from star system to star system like it ain't no thing.

One premise of the new show is that all the military hardware is deliberately low-tech because when fighting an AI like the Cylon collective, making yourself dependent on networked computer systems and vessels that depend on computerized navigation and control leaves you wide open to enemy infiltration.

About the ships... well, I'm not in a position where I can write a dissertation on the topic at this moment, but the improved realism in this show has nothing to do with the propulsion method.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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