Filed Under scifi
Archive for the ‘scifi’ Category
Did a lot of catching up at the movies this week.
As promised in the trailers: very cute and sweet. I was hoping for more than cute or sweet though, like with Ratatouille, Toy Story 2 or Finding Nemo. All of those movies touched me. They made me re-feel things I’d forgotten about. The robots weren’t able to do that for me. I liked them all and wanted them to be okay, but they didn’t tell me anything about me, so I didn’t like it as much as some other Pixar stuff I’ve seen.
Also, I have serious questions about life on that spaceship.
Four out of five Fred Willards.
Not at all what I expected, but I still really liked it. I’ve never watched Get Smart, but I imagined it was sort of like Inspector Gadget or the Pink Panther movies. I figured Maxwell Smart was one of those incompetent heroes who managed to bumble and slapstick their way to successfully closing cases. Steve Carell’s Maxwell Smart actually knows what he’s doing most of the time, but things just don’t always go his way.
The funniest bits were in the trailer, so I was disappointed in it as a comedy. I was pleasantly surprised though about how well it worked as a straight – if lighthearted – spy movie. Everyone in it was awesome from Carell to the Rock to Alan Arkin (who had way more to do than I thought he would) to Anne Hathaway.
Four out of five swordfish.
I like the premise. This would’ve made an awesome B-movie in the tradition of Day of the Animals or The Day of the Triffids. Absolutely nothing wrong with the plot. What’s wrong with it is all in the execution.
Shyamalan takes the movie way too seriously and tries so hard to ground it in reality – to make us feel what it would be like if this really happened – that he achieves the opposite effect. The performances practically quiver with the strain of looking sincere in the ridiculousness of the situation. I wanted so much to lose myself in the story, but the dialogue and the acting were so forced and fake that I never could.
Two out of five killer plants.
After seeing Wanted, I truly believe that if you sling your gun just right while pulling the trigger, you can curve a bullet. Okay, maybe not, but my problem with Wanted has nothing to do with unbelievability. My suspension of disbelief is quite healthy and the movie did nothing to compromise it. The story stayed true to the internal logic it set up for itself and it was a darn fine story besides. There were plenty of surprises and everyone stayed in character, even when doing so wasn’t the easiest choice for the movie to make.
My complaint is about the main character. The movie goes to such great extents to portray Wesley as a loser in the first act that it succeeds too well. I didn’t feel sorry for him; I pretty much hated him and felt like he was getting exactly what he deserved out of life. He was such a pushover and let people walk all over him to the point that I finally figured, “If this guy doesn’t care about himself, why should I?”
The movie eventually overcomes that flaw by turning Wesley into someone I like and can root for, but then drops the ball at the end by having him go back and revisit his old life from his new perspective. I’d rather he have left that life behind completely, but he still cares enough about the jerks who’ve made his life miserable that he feels he has to go back and prove himself to them.
If Superman was created as wish-fulfillment fantasy for kids, Wanted is wish-fulfillment fantasy for the cubicle set. If I hated my life as much as Wesley does, I might like Wanted more. I might feel challenged by the final line of the movie instead of thinking it sounded hollow and stupid.
Still, lots of cool action sequences, a really smart plot, and the movie raises some interesting questions about things like faith and loyalty.
Four out of five super-bullets.
All in all, not a bad week at the movies.
What was the deal in the ’80s with reimagining classic TV shows as scifi cartoons?
The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang
Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space
Oh, yeah. That’s right.
Speaking of which…
Darth Vader: Lord of the Blues Harp
Just… wow. By Jess Hickman.
By Gene Gonzales.
Sea Monster vs. Pirate Monkies
By Matthew Porter.
How the heck did I miss this when I was twelve? Naomi from The Spy Who Loved Me, Captain Von Trapp, the Hoff, and the crappiest effects you’ve ever seen. I wanna see!
Thanks, Christopher Mills!
The Empire Strikes Back in 60 seconds
Thanks, Star Wars Blog!
High Tech Noon
Thanks, SciFi Signal!
And what do they build? Giant robots, natcherly!
Thanks, Robert Hood!
Robot Pulp Fiction
I can’t embed this one, but it’s clever enough to make it worth clicking through.
Awesome List: Amazons from Space, Jack Sparrow tells all, flying gorillas, Moon Town, Keira does Shakespeare, and much much more
“Amazons from Space” and other stories
I never had this Wonder Woman one, but I had a couple of these superhero records (like this Hulk book-and-record one) when I was a kid. Clicking either of those links will take you to the Power Records blog where you’ll find tons of these things. Very cool site.
Indiana Jones makes everything better
Jack Sparrow tells all
Confessions of a Disneyland Captain Jack. It’s an extremely interesting behind-the-scenes look into the challenges of adapting a drunken, horny pirate to a family setting without losing the initial appeal. Be sure to read all the way to the end. It sounds like he’s complaining in parts, but it’s got a very sweet finish.
Disney wanted us to tone Jack down, so they put us through an acting class to discover reasons why Jack walks and talks the way he does. Obviously he is based on Keith Richards, who’s always messed up, which is why they came up with the class. “Don’t be flirtatious,” they told us. “See women as trouble.” And they said as far as alcohol goes, don’t even mention drinking. But the Pirates of the Caribbean song is all about drinking, and they’re drinking all along the ride. So I eventually broke that rule, because it would have taken me out of character. When parents took pictures, I’d say, “Everyone say ‘rum,’ ” and the parents loved it.
“Moon Town is a series of science-fiction episodes being created by writer/director Steve Ogden. He is planning to use a ‘Production-Based’ approach to developing the series, in hopes of keeping down the production cost and amount of time it takes to develop each episode. Look for finished episodes to be released online in serial form. The first episode, “Arrival,” is slated for completion in Spring 2008.” (Thanks, SF Signal!)
Tintin movies a trilogy
Sounds like Spielberg’s directing the first one, Peter Jackson’s got the second one, and they’re co-directing the last.
I’ve never seen a review of an
action figure doll before
At least, not one this in depth. Lots of great pictures too. It really is a great-looking doll.
Devil May Care
The new Bond novel is out. I had my hands on it the other night at Borders, but decided I didn’t have time to read it right now. Besides, I’m saving up for the Fleming hardcovers. Devil May Care is definitely on my list though.
“So young, my lord, and true.”
It’s no secret that we like Keira Knightley around here. And thanks to a re-watch of Emma and her performance in Iron Man, I’m kinda developing a crush on Gwyneth Paltrow too. Put them together with Anthony Hopkins and you’ve got a can’t-miss King Lear. The only thing that could make it better would be for Kenneth Branagh to write, direct, and produce, but we’ll give this Joshua Michael Stern fella a chance too.
Saw Iron Man again last night and dang it if I didn’t forget to look for Captain America’s shield at the appropriate time. I thought about it as the movie started and then got sucked in and didn’t think again about Easter eggs. (Or maybe I was just way distracted by Gwyneth Paltrow.)
I’ll probably do the same with The Incredible Hulk, which is going to have plenty of its own Easter eggs and connections to other Marvel movies.
Giant Robot Monkey vs. Giant Robot Cat
Matthew Porter is taking commissions to have his Giant Cat destroy the city or landmark of your choice. I recommend browsing around his site too. There’s a giant seamonster vs. pirate monkey picture that’s awe-inspiring.
Oh, wow. I cannot wait to see this.
The King’s Gold
Anytime I hear a main character described as “a brilliant bibliophile and owner of the [insert store name here] bookshop,” I get nervous. “Brilliant bookshop owner” screams Mary Sue to me. But, the combination of stolen Aztec gold, alchemy, and werewolves is intriguing and Publishers Weekly says, “The characters are unique and memorable, the action fast-paced, the plot serpentine and the riddles challenging in this entertaining adventure.”
So, what the heck. I’ll give it a shot. And since I’m psychologically incapable of starting a series in the middle, I might as well get the first one – about a jungle treasure hunt – too.
Still, I expect that Arturo Perez-Reverte’s novel of the same name will be unbeatable.
Allan Quartermain and the Temple of Skulls
Wondering how shameless rip-off kings The Asylum are planning to capitalize on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Wonder no more.
Feel dirty after that?
Shower yourself with the cleansing goodness of the latest Crystal Skull trailer. Sure, you’ve seen it already by now, but not on my blog. And you know you want to hear that whip-crack again.
And now, some more ways in which Indiana Jones makes everything better
What Leonard Nimoy should’ve made a nice career out of after Star Trek.
Other failed scifi pilots
Including a Dr. Strange TV show, that Archer fantasy TV movie I saw as a kid, and that Leonard Nimoy one again.
This doesn’t look bad at all for an ’80s War of the Worlds rip-off.
Giant moon robot!
When the giant robots are done taking over the world, they’ll already be in place on the moon.
Build your own giant robot
Just in case that last one made you jealous, this guy’ll show you how to make a giant robot of your very own.
Something’s been bugging me since I turned over the Awesome List to Newsarama and that’s that I know some of you reading this are interested in those news bits but aren’t going to start reading the whole Newsarama blog for them. So rather than just drop the feature here completely, I think I’m going to start doing a recap, not only of the Newsarama Awesome List, but any other items from that blog that especially catch my attention. You’ll be getting the items a day later than Newsarama readers will, but you’ll be getting them.
For the sake of completeness I’m going to go back to when I stopped doing the feature here, so some of this will be old news until I get caught up.
Red 5’s Afterburn heads to Hollywood. It’s a cool comic – at least as far as I can tell so far – but the real exciting part about this news is that it makes an Atomic Robo movie that much more possible.
That catches us up through the end of March.
By Robert McGinnis. (There’s naked people in that link.)
The Princess Bride
By Doug Sirois.
Perils on Planet X
By Eduardo Barreto.