Archive for the 'Cinema' Category


Prometheus

Prometheus

Okay, so the simple fact is that I will watch any sci-fi movie by Ridley Scott.  The man does it well.

But I’m noticing a theme, here.

Alien; Blade Runner; Prometheus; and Wikipedia tells me that he’s looking at doing film adaptations of The Forever War and Brave New World.

Instead of doing work in the general theme of “the future sucks”, I want him to do a movie — ideally, called Epimetheus — in which the future, while still having potentially cataclysmic conflict, fundamentally rocks.  I’m imagining him teaming up with Iain Banks to do something set in the Culture universe, for example, or something with sentient von Neuman Probes (easy conflict: there’s a replication limit, but a malfunctioning probe starts replicating without limit; we need to stop them, but they’re sentient, so killing them is wrong …)

Yes, ultimately, I’m just whinging that most sci-fi literature is distopian rather than utopian, but I don’t think I’m being naïve in wishing for it.  I think there really is market demand for a positive vision of technology and the future, with the most obvious example to cite being Ironman.

This article and chart take a look at how far in the future sci-fi has been set at the time of writing over the last century and a half (the 1980s in particular, but also the 1970s and 1990s, saw a swathe of novels set only shortly into the future, presumably therefore suggesting that the authors imagined that the technological and cultural environments they were describing might “soon” come to be).

I’d love to see something similar in terms of how positively or negatively the author views their imagined future.  Was there ever a period offering up a swell of positively themed novels, or am I letting Iain Banks and David Brin have too much influence over my memory?


High Fidelity, Empire Records

I watched High Fidelity [IMDB, Wikipedia] for the first time over the weekend.  It’s okay.  It’s pretty clear that anyone that liked Empire Records [IMDB, Wikipedia] when they were 20 years old would love High Fidelity when they’re 25.


Avatar

The visual detail is incredible.  It is a must-see in 3D.  It was designed for 3D.

The broad plot ideas are nothing special, particularly if you’ve read much sci fi or fantasy, but that’s okay.  The moral theme (humans in general and corporations in particular are evil, tree hugging Gaia worship is cool) is rammed down your throat too much — I would have liked to see something a little more Alien-and-The-Abyss-meet-your-classic-dragon-fantasy-novel and a little less Princess-Mononoke-and-Pocahontas-read-the-Green-Left-Weekly — but, as my brother points out, it’s not a film written for me, but for it’s target audience, who apparantly like broad brush strokes and simplistic themes.

Even so, I would have liked some proper character development and better acting.  The bad guy is cartoonish.  The corporate stooge is simpering and never displays any of the internal conflict the role clearly calls for.  This standard of visual detail will soon enough be the new normal and once that happens, nobody will remember Avatar, which is a shame.

Mike Russell has written a review that I generally agree with, here (lots of spoilers).