Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Musings of the Sci-Fi Village Idiot

Hey there Anomaly brothers and sisters. Joe here, and after seeing Star Trek this past summer, one of the first thoughts that ran through my head after getting out of the theater that first time was “Damn, I’ve got to pee! I knew the large Coke was too much!” The second thought was “PFFF...whatever...beaming onto a starship travelling at warp speed is WAY more believable than a 3rd year Academy cadet being promoted to Captain AND being given command of Starfleet’s flagship”, and I am an Anomaly. (Sorry, that is the military veteran in me and it’s just how my brain works folks…get used to it).

The idea for this blog came about recently after visiting a thread on another forum related to movies, Sci-Fi movies in particular. One of the reasons I love the new Anomaly boards (ALERT!!! Shameless yet completely sincere butt-kissing approaching!!) is because the people who frequent the boards are….well, cool and down to earth and discuss differences of opinion like adults and can agree to disagree. The mods are second to none and the ladies who run it are the best….AM I RIGHT?!?! WHO’S WITH ME?? Anyway (now that hurricane Brown-Nose has passed), this other forum was a bit more….not like the Anomaly board, especially when to came to discussing movies. The “movie critics” on that board were….snooty, high-falootin, condescending, arrogant, close-minded, pompous…well you get the picture. I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion but don’t flame me for simply offering mine. Of course, after reading the rest of this and getting an idea of the opinion I offered….some, normally level headed people, may begin lighting the torches, grabbing the pitchforks and boiling the oil.

What makes a “good” Science Fiction movie? The opinions on this swing more wildly than my teenage daughter’s moods from minute to minute (on a good day!). You see I am a man of simple tastes when it comes to sci-fi movies. I want to escape reality for a couple of hours. For me personally, a good sci-fi movie will have one or all of the following elements: lasers, things blowing up in space, things blowing up in space after being hit by lasers, multiple forms of human and alien life, multiple forms of human and alien life shooting at each other with lasers (hacking at each with lightsabers is also acceptable), alien babies incubating within human hosts, bursting forth only to be killed by other humans with lasers (other forms of weapons also acceptable here as well)…and you get the idea..oh yeah, and some sort of somewhat cohesive story line thingy. Well apparently, this makes me a simpleton. Yes, yours truly is the village idiot of sci-fi fans and “just doesn’t get it”. Why? Because I like simple stories that allow me to enjoy my popcorn slathered in butter flavored axle-grease with a bladder bustin Coke and make it possible not to have deal with the real world for a short time. There are 2 movies in particular that always elicit the greatest cries of condemnation. Two movies that result in such unremitting condescension aimed at me, that I finally got sick of it and said “The hell with this, I will never dare utter my uneducated and lowly opinion on these films ever again”….well except here…but after this blog, NEVER again. And what really sucks is that I did not dislike either of these movies, I just don’t put them on the pedestal that (apparently) a lot of other people do. So get those +4 Slings of Righteous Indignation and those +8 Arrows of Unholy Condescension ready because I’m a comin and I am holdin my +16 Shield of It’s My Opinion And If You Don’t Like It, It’s Cuz You’re Stupid And Wrong And I’m Tellin (or if you prefer the Shield of IMOAIYDLIICYSAWAIM). (Yeah I know…I made those up but they sounded kinda geeky so I went with it.)

I know what you’re thinking, probably something along the lines of….GET ON WITH IT!!! So, OK. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s Sci-Fi “Masterpiece” from 1968. This is a really, really good movie. This movie came out 9 years before the original Star Wars and in a lot of places actually looks better than Star Wars did. This is one of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen and it came out in 1968!! The score to the movie is amazing as well. The only issue I have with is…well, it’s kinda boring in spots. Oh and one question…..JUST WHAT THE HELL IS THIS MOVIE ABOUT?!? Now before any purists out there saddle up “ye olde high horse”, I really did get most of the plot of the movie, but do you realize if you google...or insert favorite search engine here…the meaning of this movie, how many hits you will get? Again…simple pleasures. I don’t always need to see a movie that requires extensive research or book-learnin to figure out. I really liked this movie but honestly (and here is where the flaming REALLY started) I liked the Star Wars Prequels more.

The other movie I wanted to mention is far more recent. It came out this year actually and its name is District 9. Peter Jackson’s movie set in South Africa about the arrival and treatment of the “Prawns” that showed up in the early 1980’s. This movie is an allegory wrapped up in a sci-fi story with good acting and good special effects. I liked this movie as well…I think. I saw it when it first came out and I am still thinking about whether I really enjoyed this movie or not. Some will say that is a sure sign of a good sci-fi movie…”one that makes ya think man”….but I had and still have absolutely no desire to see it again. I am not against a movie with a “message”, but I have to be in the mood for a movie like this one whose message was about as subtle as an Annie Sprinkle performance piece. Seriously, about 10 minutes into this movie I felt like Concorde in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. **THUNK**Message for you sir. I get it, I just don’t want to get it by way of a sledgehammer…or an arrow in the chest. A good movie to be sure, but a movie that IMO was about 40 minutes too long. Even the people I was with in the movie were talking amongst themselves, many whispering..."Is something going to happen soon?" When the movie ended there was a collective "Hmm...OK." from the most of the audience. I got the impression that most in the theater thought as I did....A good movie but maybe a tad....heavy-handed, I suppose.

I love Science Fiction, always have, always will. I realize that some of the best science fiction ever written and filmed on the big screen (and the small screen) make some sort of social commentary on the issues relevant to the time it was written. I just happen to feel that the more subtle the commentary, the more effective it truly is. Anytime you pound someone over the head with a message or an opinion, you begin to lose them and make them feel like they are a child being preached to. Worse, you can create legions of internet trolls who feel morally superior to anyone who doesn't feel the same way they do about a particular movie or show.

My point is this...When it comes to Sci-Fi, my opinion is better than yours…deal with it. I kid of course, the actual point is (Uh Oh...**THUNK**Message for you Sir!)...just because we all don’t see the same movies/shows/books the same way doesn’t mean people have to treat those with differing opinions like Bantha Poodoo. Lighten up, it IS afterall just entertainment....WITH LASERS.

Kirk Out!

Joe (OK so this one may actually have been LONGER…Sue me) R.
Anomaly Staff Writer
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Jen said...

I agree Joe...and it's not just because you're a "grade a boot licker". ;) Thanks for mentioning the forum. I added a hyperlink for good measure.

You know, Angela and I did a Miniskirt episode called "Star Trek 2009 movie" where we proceeded to offer our OPINIONS on the character of Uhura and the difference between said character in TOS and in the new Trek Movie. WOW! You'd think we said the Star Wars Prequels were better than the new Trek movie! We got the most emails from that one episode. Most of those emails were from MEN telling us we were wrong about how we, as two WOMEN, see the difference between the two Uhuras. Um...that's what our podcast is about. Women's perspectives on Sci-Fi. Not all women think the same either, that's just one reason why we call ourselves "Anomalies". BTW, opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them and they stink. I sniff and if I don't like what I smell, I move away quickly...I don't tend to offer deodorant. More people should do that.

Anyway, all that to say: while I like a good story with a deeper meaning I too had NO idea what 2001 was about. Snooze fest. And laser swords are just frak'n awesome.

Everyone can find a little something in Sci-Fi. Star Trek and Star Wars fans CAN get along and there's nothing wrong with simply looking to be entertained. :)

Anonymous said...

what he said.



Loved it.