• Category Archives Science Fiction
  • Big giant robots killing eachother.

    On all my social networking sites, I’ve mentioned I was going to go watch Micheal Bay spit on my childhood for the third time. Regardless of Bay’s past indiscretions (and there are many), I still slapped down my ten bucks to go see Transformers 3. Call it an overblown sense of nostalgia, call it a sadomasochist tendency, or call it just plain curiosity. Well, I’ll get this out of the way: Transformers 3 is not going to win any Oscars, nor should it. However, for me, Transformers 3 did not suck.

    Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon had a thin plot-line to say the least. The characters were so-so, and the effects were par for course. This was a movie made to make money and I doubt Micheal Bay cared the art of film. However, I loved almost every minute of it. OK, so the first few minutes I hated. The actor that played JFK did the worst impersonation of JFK I’ve ever seen. It was so bad, it was like a bad impersonation of someone doing an impersonation of JFK. There’s also the effects in the beginning of the film:  while I appreciate the fact that Bay tried to insert graininess into the some of the shots from the 1960s, it felt a little forced, and did not mesh well at all with the non grainy shots. Of course, then there’s the up-skirt shots of Carly climbing the stairs. That was the point of the movie I rolled my eyes, and braced for impact. Anytime some streetwise jive talking autobots would bust into a rap, and some huge robot made of constructions would be tea bagging the audience. Thankfully, those scenes never came. Instead Micheal Bay focused his testosterone on giant robots blowing each other up. My inner 9 year old breathed a sigh of relief.

    Again, I say that Transformers 3 will not be winning any Oscars, but at the end of the day, I spent ten bucks to be entertained for 2.5 hours. I saw massive amounts of explosions and icons of my childhood in a massive war in the middle of Chicago. I give Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon a solid B. You might not enjoy the film if you weren’t a 9 year old boy in 1984, but if you are of my age and gender, go see the movie. Now. You’ll love it!

    One final thought. Now that we’ve gotten through the trilogy, can we get alive action  Transformers movie with Unicron? Pleeaaasee?

  • Lost and Life

    Several weeks have passed since the Lost gave us it’s final farewell. Most fans of the series have formulated strong opinions of favor or disdain. Overall I have a favorable opinion of the last episode. One reason for my opinion is that the series finale did not pander to the audience by answering every unanswered question in the series. But while I see the unanswered questions as favorable, it is the very reason why many fans of the show were disappointed in the ending. This particular issue is probably the biggest hot button of the series finale. I’ve had many debates with a co-worker who keeps saying “when I read a book, I don’t want any loose ends at the end.” It is my argument, however, that this viewpoint totally misses the point of the finale! Of the entire series even! The questions left unanswered in Lost mimic not only life, but also religion.

    As a writer, I tend to hate the fact that every detail in a story has to mean something. Life is simply just not like that. Life is a chaotic spill of random events, which sometimes interlock, sometimes hold significant meaning, and sometimes mean absolutely nothing. Consider the following: You’re driving to work and you’re running late.  You look down and discover a mysterious rash on your arm. In real life, you might put some Cortizone on the rash, and think nothing of it. In a  work of fiction, this rash would probably have a meaning. This rash would later be revealed to be a deadly disease or a mark of greatness. Writer’s choose their details for a reason. Writers usually don’t insert random events just for the sake of inserting random events. Random events confuse people! But random events are all a part of life. Random events are in fact reality. Going back to Lost, the writers insert many random things that apparently have no meaning. Why were the numbers so prevalent and what do they mean? Why was Desmond able to see Charlie’s future? Why was Walt Special? Was it the island, or was it the smoke monster that healed John Locke’s legs? Why didn’t Kate grow any leg or armpit hair? OK, the last question was more about aesthetics and sex appeal, but the other questions will never be answered. They remain huge mysteries. Well, guess what? That’s life. We never find out what the rash on our arm is, and we don’t really care because the cream took it away. But Lost is a work of fiction, therefore it should wrap up into a tidy little package, shouldn’t it? Nope! Arguably, one of the key themes in Lost is life and death. What better way to emphasize this theme than to emulate something that happens in life? What better way to emulate life, than with random happenstances and unanswered questions?

    But the unanswered questions are not just about life. The unanswered questions go hand in hand with another prevalent theme in Lost: the theme of spirituality and religion. There’s a reason that mysticism is a synonym for spirituality, religion, and the like. Mysticism shares a root word with mystery and mythology. Mysticism indicates a sense of not knowing the whole story. And that is precisely the sense we get with Lost; we don’t know the whole story. We don’t know where the island came from, we don’t know what the island is capable of, and we don’t know why the island behaves the way it does. We know some things, just as in all myths we know the basic concepts. We know the island is a cork that keeps evil from flooding the Earth, just as we know in the book of Genesis that it was God who created the Earth. But just as we don’t exactly know how God created the Earth in Genesis, we don’t know why the island exists in the first place. We can speculate all we want to, but we are never going to have all the answers. This is the nature of religion; this is also why having some of the big questions remain unanswered works so well in Lost. These unanswered questions emulate mysticism, and thus adding to one of the major themes in Lost.

    I’ve been reading all kinds of comments online since Lost ended, indicating that JJ Abrams is a hack. Such comments state that JJ Abrums relied on MacGuffins; that he intentionally led the viewer on so the viewer would keep watching. Well, considering my stance on the intentional fallacy, I am not about to say that Abrums did anything of the sort intentionally. But even if Abrums was just being a jerk to the viewers, even if he was just trying to string us along for six years, in the case of Lost, it worked. In the case of Lost, MacGuffins served a purpose to illustrate it’s key points. Besides, said commentators also state that JJ Abrums does this in everything he touches. While that’s certainly an exaggeration (ahem, Star Trek had none), even if it were true, it doesn’t matter. If JJ Abrums did this in everything, then that would  cease to be a plot device used to hoodwink the audience, and start to be Abrum’s style and form.

  • Buffy vs Twilight in Buffy Season 8

    ©Jinx, Inc. Used without permission. Please don't sue me, Jinx! I love your t-shirts!!!!I’ll be honest: I cannot stand sparkly vampires. I have even considered buying a T-shirt depicting Buffy dusting Edward. I have even contemplated writing fan fiction along the same lines. But why should I write fan fiction, when Buffy goes toe to toe with the Twilight Vamps canonically? In the Buffy the Vampire: Season 8 graphic novels, we find an interesting subtext involving the evils of even the nicest and incompetent vampires. This evil, is not just limited to the Buffyverse: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 shows that even the sparkly vamps of the twilight universe are evil creatures, and should probably be disposed of, lest they win the hearts of the innocents.

    Let’s begin with issue 21: “Harmonic Divergence.” Harmony, the ditsy cheerleader turned Vampire Princess, is spotted in California drinking blood from the neck of an unnamed celebrity. Through a course of events, she gets her own reality show on MTV, and a worldwide interest in, and love for, vampires emerges. But Harmony as evil as ever, even more so. Not only does she heartlessly kills a slayer on live television, she also endorses a line of what is later revealed to be demon controlled toy vampires! Of course, after an attack by a would be slayer (who is slaughtered mercilessly), and after Buffy’s gang destroys the toys, Harmony plays the victim, and of course, the public fall for this. Hmmm, Vampires gaining immense popularity, to the point of immense fandom and said fans claiming said vampires are not evil. Quite an interesting resemblance to the fans of Twilight, as well as the other sparkly Vamps that have emerged because of the immense Twilight Vamps. Harmony appears nice enough, she’s not out to kill anyone – at least not publicly. But when the doors are closed, she’s just as bloodthirsty, heartless, and evil as ever. And perhaps, so are the Twilight Vamps. Perhaps.

    Or perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions. Perhaps the similarity of Harmony’s popularity and Twilight’s popularity is simply just a coincidence and not an allegory showing that all Vampires are evil creatures  (even though issue 21 came out a mere two months after the release of the first Twilight movies). Well, even if this IS a coincidence, there are other damning factors against Twilight in season 8. For one thing, the Big Bad of season 8 is named, (ahem) TWILIGHT! Yes, how coincidental is that? How is it that the head evil creature is actually named Twilight? There’s no denying the fact that Season 8 shows the evils of the Twilight, when the main villain is actually named TWILIGHT!!! That’s would be like if CS Lewis had named Aslan “Jesus.” That would be like if George Orwell had called the pigs in Animal Farm “Communists.” That would be like if Herman Melville named the Whale – well whatever the heck the whale means, that one’s still up for debate. But my point is simple: Word association is a powerful tool. Its pretty unimaginable that Joss Whedon would happen to overlook the fact that his main villain in season 8 just happens to share the name of a series of books and movies which depicts good and caring vampires. When the name is different, any similarities, however blaring they might be, could be dismissed as merely coincidence. The very fact that the main villain is named “Twilight,” is a big blaring sign saying “HEY! LOOK! TWILIGHT! WE REALLY MEAN TWILIGHT!!!!”

    Oh, but wait! What about Angel? What about Spike? They’re both Vampires and they’re both good!Or are they? If I remember correctly, Spike only became “good” because he had a chip implanted in his head causing him not to kill humans. Despite anything he did after that, if it had not been for that chip, Spike would have gone on killing anyone and everyone he felt the urge to kill. Spike was pretty much tamed like a circus animal – take out his metaphorical teeth and he’s harmless. Ok, ok, Spike is evil, but what about Angel? Well, Angel just happens to be the best piece of evidence to my thesis. Angel was probably one of the most evil Vampires in the Buffyverse before his, for lack of a better word, anti-curse. And after he slept with Buffy, he lost his soul and became evil once more. Angel is no (ahem) Angel; he’s a demon who is only good because people were so sick of his terror, that they decided to put a spell on him. But never mind that. an interesting fact was revealed about Angel recently. The writers of Buffy Season 8 has revealed that Angel, who has not previously been portrayed in season 8, has been in the background of Season 8 this entire time. Angel has been wearing a mask—the same mask that Twilight wears. Angel is Twilight! The kindest, most gentle, and dare I say Edward-like vampire in the Buffyverse turns out to be the Big Bad that’s trying to kill Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies! Case closed! Never mind the neon sign, we now have a blaring horn bleating out that even the sparkliest of vampires is evil and vile and will kill you if you give it a chance. And yes,I said  it! They are not people! They are evil THINGS that need to be disposed of properly and by all means necessary.

    Oh the path we weave when we decide evil is good, and good is evil. Oh the twisted, sick perversions, oh the death and destruction – but I digress. In all seriousness, I really don’t believe Vampires exist, despite my enthusiasm in this article. Vampires are a great literary device to describe all that is evil and dark in this world. A little Vlad the Impaler, a little Black Plague, a little dark magic, and voila! Dracula – one of the most formidable literary villains of all time – is born. But even Dracula has his good side, right? He helped Buffy and the Scoobies in Tokyo, right? Well, yes….but only because that served his best interest. Mark my words, in any other circumstance, Dracula meeting Buffy would have meant a reenactment of Season 5’s first episode – only this time the end might depict a role reversal – IE Dracula standing over Buffy’s grave. Every vamp is something to be weary of. Like I said, I don’t believe in vampires – but if I ever meet one – I’m running the other way as fast as I possibly can. And you should as well. Now. Don’t stop. Just freaking run already!