Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sci-Fi on the Silver Screen

I and perhaps a few others will probably see the Aeon Flux movie when it comes out in a few days. We're sci-fi fans, and, while we both have the gut feeling that the movie isn't going to be anything great, we're hoping to have two hours or so of possibly mindless fun.

The movie is being touted as "sci-fi" but it is really some futuristic utopian/dystopian mystery flick, at least if I understand the movie's plot description as put forth on the site. And yes, the heroine is hot, at least from the eye candy perspective.

On the larger scale of things, there really seems to be a dearth of good sci-fi movies out there. I don't consider the Star Wars movies to be sci-fi, but more like "space opera." Having been a fan of Asimov and the golden-age sci-fi short stories, sci-fi, in my book needs a lot more of the sci- than what many consider to be sci-fi material.

It is hard to compile, by the fact that I consider sci-fi to mean that there is some science and such in the work, a list of "great sci-fi movies" because there just don't seem to be that many.

I'd list the following as prize-winners at the 2005 PP Sci-Fi Film Festival:

THX 1138 [Creepy. I think this qualifies as sci-fi. I read the book too.]

A.I. [I was absorbed in this flick.]

Planet of the Apes [Maybe this doesn't qualify as sci-fi and more as adventure.]

The Andromeda Strain [Possibly the purest sci-fi movie ever.]

Minority Report

The Time Machine [and not just because Yvette Mimieux was in the flick either!]

I'm probably missing a few here and there due to a pokey mind [hey it's 11pm].

I'd dearly love to see the robot novels and the Foundation novels of Asimov turned into films. At the same time, my mind can supply better imagery than can today's computer graphics, so it is like a movie in my mind when I read those books.

My main complaint about what passes for sci-fi today is that much of it seems to be an excuse to show off computer graphics and special effects. Frankly, while the eye-candy does produce an Oooooh and Aaaahhh factor, it gets old quickly. What matters, I'd contend, is the plotline, the writing, and story.

For example, I'm a sucker for the old B&W Twilight Zone. I believe I've seen every episode. Now that show is the ultimate budget production. But the writing and ideas were superb and delightfully twisted. Some of the ideas on those old TZ episodes still freak me out, and I'm a grown man.

Fast forward a few years to a good number of original Star Trek episodes. Much of these were interesting for their ideas. Yes, the 60's luvin' and collectivist mentality were on display, but the writing was good. The special effects weren't good enough to where they could dominate the story. Captain Kirk was a man's man. I'm not sure I can in good conscience approve of rampant rolls in the hay with green alien females, but, I found Kirk convincing in his own hammy Shatneresque way.

But what have I seen in the more modern times? Well, for example, I was a high school senior when ST:TNG came out. Wow. Star Trek. New episodes! Hooray! But what did we get? We had political correctness shoved down our throats at times, we had special effects galore, and we had that touchy-feely chick Counselor Troi talking about feelings. Now Troi's character was certainly eye candy, especially when she moved from the skirt to the, ah, form-fitting outfit that, we daresay, fit her ample form quite well. But I'd want to set phasers on "kill" when she'd spout her feeling-based empathetic psychobabble.

BTW --- I watched every episode, obviously. Some episodes were good, but other episodes gave me the feeling of being a dad sitting through his first-grade daughter's school play. I should mention that Picard and Number One always rubbed me the wrong way. I personally detested Number One.

What would I like?

Well, I don't think I've ever seen a romantic comedy --- oh wait, yes, I did once back in college with another Diane. The romance in romantic comedies makes me groan, and the comedy is strangely lacking. Any woman I date who insists that I see a romantic comedy is in effect telling me that the relationship is over. Anyway, I don't care if romantic comedies are consigned to limbo. They waste space. They cause fights in relationships. They're just bad for humanity. So, I guess I'd like romantic comedies to die a quick, efficient Kevorkianesque death.

What I'd really like is a Christian sci-fi movie, perhaps something like CS Lewis' Space Trilogy set to film. I personally have several ideas for a Christian sci-fi novel or series, but I vacillate between how explicitly Christian to make things. But we'd want to work some metaphysics in nonetheless! I've written one dry tome of a book, and perhaps I should pound out a more pleasurable book, though I wouldn't say I have any more qualifications than the next guy apart from a firmly-warranted confidence that I could do something that wouldn't be too bad.

Well, anyway, perhaps I should post some semi-intelligible ramblings on Aeon Flux after I see it. This is when I wish Steve was on the West Coast. I believe he and I could kibitz through the entire movie, exchanging pithy and pointed thoughts on the film. We could at least do as good of a job as those guys in Mystery Science Theater 3000.


Blogger Gummby said...

Logan's Run & Blade Runner?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger Sojourner said...

While I am a Sci-Fi fan, I do not see myself going to see Aeon Flux. From the previews, it seems dismally lacking any sort of plot-line. I think that it is essentially women running around in tight garments and using high-tech equipment and beating people up.

I did just see "War of the Worlds". Not sure if you consider that "Sci-Fi", but that melto ray the aliens used was pretty scary.

Finally, Picard was light years better than Janeway, but that may just be my inner chauvanist speaking.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Matt --- Logan's Run was an enjoyable film, but more of a futuristic adventure, I'd contend.

Now Blade Runner actually was a darn good movie. I should've put that on the list, but, it was late. Anything that asks about consciousness in machines definitely gets the sci-fi label.

Sojourner --- the promos seem to be more of the "Charlize Theron is hot!" flavor than some great story, which is part of the gut feeling that the flick won't be anything more than two hours of mindless fun.

As for Picard vs Janeway, I don't know if it was the show or all of the people crowing about A FEMALE CAPTAIN that sort of made me turn a jaundiced eye to the show. I never got into it, so I can't say if Voyager crammed p.c. down my throat.

The funny thing is that nobody I know seemed anti-female-captain anyway, so, given the propensity of some intellectuals to make hay over the fact that the captain was a woman, made me wonder just to whom they were sticking it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 1:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

What about Andromeda Strain, Running Man, Tron & Alien?

Unfortunately, most scifi has bad science, lousy characters or lousy plots.

Captain Kirk was really the only Star Trek captain worth watching. The rest were all way too PC.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 8:12:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

I listed Andromeda Strain. Running Man was, in my book, more action. Tron, perhaps. Alien....no.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gummby said...

Thought of a couple others. Stargate, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Contact.

Re: Star Trek, & other Skiffy shows, I hope to get some thoughts published soon.

Friday, December 02, 2005 11:58:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home