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Thread: Science Fiction

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by jigglypuff View Post
    this just reminds me that as someone who doesn't have this issue imagining alternate worlds i think the slick over-produced style that one associates with big-budget "sci-fi" films with the emphasis on special effects (undoubtedly impressive) actually makes stories less engaging and does a disservice to people's imaginations. part of the problem might be shallow/formulaic stories that don't inspire the imagination (much of mass entertainment) so the focus becomes fleshing out the world as much as possible and creating spectacular scenes and images to hold people's interest.
    I don't find the mass appeal and inspirational necessarily mutually exclusive. Like it or hate it, Bladerunner is easily 70% special effects/atmosphere, 20% boilerplate detective story and 10% philosophical science futurism. That said, the world of Bladerunner is a character in of itself largely expressing itself though its visual representation. Rather than words it uses a soundtrack to speak. Alien is another, somewhat similar example, in that it would probably be nothing without Geiger's visual touch.

    Granted, I'm with you that most sci-fi movies don't come close and are nothing more than plastic and explosions, but you can't discount the possibility there might not be a kernel of inspiration in them. On it's surface the original Star Trek series was corny FX and go-go boots, but there was some deep stories behind it and the iconic communicator inspired a device we all have in our pockets today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Sometimes I wonder if people are afraid to call a movie's genre "fantasy". Science fiction sounds more adult.
    To state what is probably obvious: The mass audience equates "fantasy" to swords and sorcery, castles and dragons.

    If we are to spare the holy ground of "true" science fiction the besmirchment of space opera, or whatever one chooses to call it, why not just also just toss out the concept of science fiction itself and call it what it is; drama?

    I consider it a bit like family, like your cousin or not, they're still family that has a decent chance of sharing you name.
    Last edited by Thoth; 05-16-2018 at 03:48 PM.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post
    That's a cool idea, now you just need a story to go with it

    Well, the odds of me ever being able to steal it are slim to nil anyway. I'd have to be hired on to something where that set would make sense, and it would have to have a lot of money because that sounds like it'd really expensive to make at least ok looking.

    That's partially why I will still gush over Valerian (an otherwise awful movie) because what they pull off visually is so absolutely incredible. To make even 1 of those sets look ok would be very expensive and time consuming, and the ENTIRE FILM is fucking EPIC looking.
    Is Valerian better than Jupiter Ascending? That's a movie I really wanted to like (I'll defend Matrix 2, Speed Racer, Sense8 to this day), but couldn't. The characters and plot were just so stupid. There were some cool looking visuals, but what was around it was such crap that I have no interest in rewatching it.

    I saw a clip of the opening of Valerian (showing the growth of space travel set to David Bowie) and that makes me tempted to really give it a try. Plus, it's named after a plant that can be a substitute for catnip.

    I love Westworld! I've been a fan of Evan Rachel Wood for a long time, and she's killin' it! I haven't started the 2nd season yet though, I'm patiently waiting for the season to end so I can binge because that's how I ended up doing season 1 (unintentionally), and I think the idea of having to wait for the next episode would frustrate me more than just waiting completely.


    The second season is as good, if not better, than the first. The last episode was actually really creepy in a good way. I kind of hope they limit it to four seasons, though. I'll forgive the sloppy writing of the last three seasons of Game Of Thrones because I'm probably never going to get the proper resolution to that story, but I don't want the same thing to happen to Westworld.

    I also really like Timeless, I watched the season finale of season 2 last night. It isn't quite as good or deep as Westworld, but it's a good watch. The 2nd season is stronger than the 1st. I'm really interested in where the 3rd will go, it seems like they've had a lot (if not all) of the plot figured out since season 1 (which is usually a good sign they've thought things through).
    I don't think I've ever actually heard of Timeless.



    This is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause


    I actually think the political angle is one of the better parts (and probably the worst thing about Episode VII, although it's better than the prequels, is how vague the political situation in the galaxy is, because they didn't want to seem like the prequels), although it would have been better if so much of Natalie Portman's storyline wasn't cut from Episode III (which also means that the scene that you prequel-memed seems out of place in the finished product). Did you know there are storyboards of her having a knife to kill Anakin at the end? That would have been so much better than the stupid "dying of a broken heart" stuff we got. I feel like she was supposed to die of being force-choked by Vader, but Lucas chickened out.

    I think there are a lot of really cool things design-wise about those films, though, that make them somewhat rewatchable (or at least, parts of them). I love Coruscant , Kamino and Naboo as environments.

    Last edited by Scrubjay; 05-17-2018 at 04:22 AM.

  3. #53
    Faster. Than. Ever. Sloth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrubjay View Post
    Is Valerian better than Jupiter Ascending? That's a movie I really wanted to like (I'll defend Matrix 2, Speed Racer, Sense8 to this day), but couldn't. The characters and plot were just so stupid. There were some cool looking visuals, but what was around it was such crap that I have no interest in rewatching it.

    I saw a clip of the opening of Valerian (showing the growth of space travel set to David Bowie) and that makes me tempted to really give it a try. Plus, it's named after a plant that can be a substitute for catnip.
    I haven't seen Jupiter Ascending, it's been on my list though. I've been putting it off because I've heard some really awful things about it. The design of it looks incredible from the trailer, so I'm going to get around to watching it eventually, if for nothing else but educational purposes.

    As for Valerian, I think a lot of it could have been saved if it were cast better. Dane DeHaan was just a weird choice for that role, I loved him in A Cure For Wellness, but he just doesn't look old enough to play a seasoned war veteran (early on in the story he lists off all these accomplishments, and I just kept thinking "so did you enlist when you were 11 or something?"). Cara Delevigne does a pretty good American accent, but that's about all I have to say about her performance. On top of that the two of them have ZERO chemistry together.

    Plus the writing just isn't terribly strong either, it meanders all over the place and is the epitome of what some people in this thread were complaining about: the world vastly outshines the narrative, and I think it's really unfortunate when that happens. I'd agree with the general sentiment that science fiction scripts really need to up their game, brilliant intricate worlds are here to stay and I think because of the weak narrative in that film that Production Designer Hugues Tissandier was ROBBED out of an Oscar nod.


    The second season is as good, if not better, than the first.
    YUSS!!! I'm excited to hear that. I hope it doesn't go stale either. I don't think it will though, they seem perfectly fine taking their sweet time to finish seasons so that's a good sign they might be realistic about when their stuff starts to go bad.


    I don't think I've ever actually heard of Timeless.
    I really enjoy it, it definitely has a bit of a "primetime" feel, but considering it's meant for a "primetime cookie cutter slot" it actually has some really decent writing going for it imo. Plus Abigail Spencer's performance makes me feel warm fuzzy things inside I can see many an INTP swoon over her character.

    I actually think the political angle is one of the better parts (and probably the worst thing about Episode VII, although it's better than the prequels, is how vague the political situation in the galaxy is, because they didn't want to seem like the prequels)
    This is something I actually pretty strongly disagree with. Bringing in the "fight for democracy" Americanizes it (or at least Westernizes it), and Star Wars to me is about emphasizing universality. I thought the political narrative detracted very much from the spiritual and philosophical undertones I was expecting to be matched in weight with the original episodes. I was fine with keeping the political system vague, I thought it helped keep the focus on deeper things.

    although it would have been better if so much of Natalie Portman's storyline wasn't cut from Episode III (which also means that the scene that you prequel-memed seems out of place in the finished product). Did you know there are storyboards of her having a knife to kill Anakin at the end? That would have been so much better than the stupid "dying of a broken heart" stuff we got. I feel like she was supposed to die of being force-choked by Vader, but Lucas chickened out.
    Most things need more Natalie Portman. I didn't know that about the storyboards, that would have been bad ass! I didn't like her weak ending either. Her character deserved better.

    I think there are a lot of really cool things design-wise about those films, though, that make them somewhat rewatchable (or at least, parts of them). I love Coruscant , Kamino and Naboo as environments.
    The design is the only thing that prevents me from throwing things at the screen for good chunks of those prequels. Episodes I-III were on TV recently playing back to back, so I was able to refresh myself with the "progression" they were going for with these characters, and it really just falls completely flat. Anakin is a scared kid, then he's whiney and arrogant, then he's evil. There was no struggle. It just seemed like there was never any real chance that he was ever going to be good. I recognize we walk into the prequels with the spoiler alert of his ending, but there was never a time I thought "yeah this guy really could have been Luke's dad" in terms of emotional resemblance (which seemed necessary they have a drop of emotional resemblance because so much of Episodes IV-VI are about Luke wanting to "be like his Jedi father"). I think Anakin's lack of character arc becomes really glaring when you watch them back to back.

    One thing I like about the new films is that I definitely see that struggle in Kilo Ren. I think they learned their lesson about that.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post

    This is something I actually pretty strongly disagree with. Bringing in the "fight for democracy" Americanizes it (or at least Westernizes it), and Star Wars to me is about emphasizing universality. I thought the political narrative detracted very much from the spiritual and philosophical undertones I was expecting to be matched in weight with the original episodes. I was fine with keeping the political system vague, I thought it helped keep the focus on deeper things.
    But that was always part of the backstory. The Old Republic is mentioned several times in the original movie. So, to explain how it got replaced by an empire, presumably, something like that would have to be part of it.
    Most things need more Natalie Portman. I didn't know that about the storyboards, that would have been bad ass! I didn't like her weak ending either. Her character deserved better.
    Agreed on all points.

    The design is the only thing that prevents me from throwing things at the screen for good chunks of those prequels. Episodes I-III were on TV recently playing back to back, so I was able to refresh myself with the "progression" they were going for with these characters, and it really just falls completely flat. Anakin is a scared kid, then he's whiney and arrogant, then he's evil. There was no struggle. It just seemed like there was never any real chance that he was ever going to be good. I recognize we walk into the prequels with the spoiler alert of his ending, but there was never a time I thought "yeah this guy really could have been Luke's dad" in terms of emotional resemblance (which seemed necessary they have a drop of emotional resemblance because so much of Episodes IV-VI are about Luke wanting to "be like his Jedi father"). I think Anakin's lack of character arc becomes really glaring when you watch them back to back.
    That's a good point.

    The two things that irritate me the most about the prequels is that by the time we see Anakin again in Episode II, he's already kind of a douche with fascist and murdering tendencies. If he was ever good, it was when it was 10. So, most of the character development happens between Episode I and II.

    The other thing is that almost no time is devoted to exploring the Anakin and Obi-Wan dynamic before it goes bad, so it doesn't mean anything when it does go bad. He's found and mentored by Liam Neeson... what about the part where Anakin was a "good friend"? Episode III has a little of this in the last scene with them before they part ways, but there should have been a lot more on screen to actually back that scene up. At the very least, Episode II should have centered around that.

    Maybe Obi-Wan should have been the main character, and not Anakin? That's another reason why I'm glad Rey isn't a Skywalker. Who says the main character needs to be a Skywalker?

    One thing I like about the new films is that I definitely see that struggle in Kilo Ren. I think they learned their lesson about that.
    Yeah.... I think having him without the mask for most of VIII was a good decision. He's much more interesting without the mask. (See avatar.)

  5. #55
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    As I vaguely recall, the animated series of the clone wars actually did a pretty good job of conveying the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan while also telling a fairly complicated political story with many characters. It seemed like the plot and setting were both better suited to an animated, episodic format.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    As I vaguely recall, the animated series of the clone wars actually did a pretty good job of conveying the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan while also telling a fairly complicated political story with many characters. It seemed like the plot and setting were both better suited to an animated, episodic format.
    Yeah, this was the case. It was the way it should have been in the movies, honestly.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrubjay View Post
    But that was always part of the backstory. The Old Republic is mentioned several times in the original movie. So, to explain how it got replaced by an empire, presumably, something like that would have to be part of it.
    Though I understand the point you're making, I think it would have served them better to keep the particulars of the government workings to a minimum and focused even more so on the relationships between the characters. When Obi Wan yells out "FOR DEMOCRACY!" as the final reason as to why to not turn evil...

    Spoiler: I was like


    Don't get me wrong, I love democracy in real life, but we're talking about an art piece. The final reason should have been love, the force, their friendship, SOMETHING that can be universally applied to all things. It just grounded the narrative to planet earth, I was no longer in a galaxy far far away.


    The two things that irritate me the most about the prequels is that by the time we see Anakin again in Episode II, he's already kind of a douche with fascist and murdering tendencies. If he was ever good, it was when it was 10. So, most of the character development happens between Episode I and II.

    The other thing is that almost no time is devoted to exploring the Anakin and Obi-Wan dynamic before it goes bad, so it doesn't mean anything when it does go bad. He's found and mentored by Liam Neeson... what about the part where Anakin was a "good friend"? Episode III has a little of this in the last scene with them before they part ways, but there should have been a lot more on screen to actually back that scene up. At the very least, Episode II should have centered around that.

    Maybe Obi-Wan should have been the main character, and not Anakin? That's another reason why I'm glad Rey isn't a Skywalker. Who says the main character needs to be a Skywalker?
    Agreed. It seemed most of his growth happened off screen, which doesn't do us very much good as an audience. It became very expository (fancy pants film word for they 'told' us instead of 'showed' us). I didn't really get their friendship/connection either. When Obi Wan describes Luke's father in Episode IV, it sounds like he had very different experiences than the ones we saw, and it just seemed like they were always fighting about something stupid.

    I'm glad Rey isn't a Skywalker either (at least she appears to not be anyway). I remember thinking to myself going into Episode VII it seems unrealistic that there would only be 1 strong blood line in the entire galaxy. I wouldn't put it past them though if it turned out Rey and Kilo are twins. It could be possible that she was lost during a battle as a baby and Leia and Han thought she died so they stopped looking. Some people I know think that's not possible because Leia would have "sensed it" but I dunno...

    I hope I'm wrong, because that would be the most predictable and boring thing ever.

    Yeah.... I think having him without the mask for most of VIII was a good decision. He's much more interesting without the mask. (See avatar.)


    Yeah I noticed you seem to be a fan. Adam Driver seems to be doing a great job with it. I actually feel pretty bad for Haden Christenson, a lot of people blame his performance for the prequel nonsense, but I think the writing and directing kind of screwed him over too.

  8. #58
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    I feel like SNL pretty much captured the essence of Kylo Ren however his name goes... I can't imagine ever taking his character seriously.

    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    video
    "Dude Matt straight up sucks."



    That was great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    Out of those you mentioned, I've only seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I found at the same time soporific (mainly due to its comatose pace) and psychologically terrifying.
    Yeah, I hear that. I can dig soporific sometimes though as more hypnotic or medidative. It's like those moments in a train in a strange country idly watching the scenery go by; sometimes a slower pace in a movie gives me that same sort of "active idleness". For me, 2001: A Space Odyssey goes in that direction.

    Perhaps I should add that I avoid watching films depicting mutilation or gruesome deaths, which rules out most of modern-day science fiction (and indeed, most of the action genre). Such scenes can easily ruin a whole film for me.
    Yeah, I lean the same way though I guess I'm habituated to the mundane violence of most movies. I do dislike gratutious violence though, and will often have to stop to wonder if shows that veer towards torture, rape, or more visceral violence are actually worth it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blorg View Post
    One thing that kind of bothers me about the genre is how human-centric and earth-centric it tends to be. In Arrival, the movie that came out last year, do you seriously expect me to believe that 1. Aliens look like octopuses 2. They speak glorified sign language even though they can do mystic brain communes 3. They give a fuck about us? Why are aliens always so obsessed with us? Why are they so rarely actual aliens rather than walking allegories either for humans or Jesus? I feel like they're hardly ever given sufficient narrative independence. (same case for robots.) In other words, if they were women, feminists would be up in arms.
    I hear ya. I liked Arrival, but not like fanatic about it. I was trying to think if there were any movies that treat aliens in a less "Earthy" way. Maybe The Andromeda Strain (microbial), Europa Report (microbial), Solaris (?). Not sure what other non-Earthy representations of aliens there are.

    (Europa Report, though flawed, was much better than I expected from the reviews.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrubjay View Post
    Oh, and Westworld, the TV show, I would think, would be pretty good sci-fi (sorry, science fiction) by the purist's standard. They do a lot more with it than you'd think. Surprised it's not getting more love here.
    Westworld passes the time pleasantly enough, but there's something significant missing, like it's too closed, programmatic, or maybe even formulaic. It's a premise that has been well covered in my mind (Bladeunner, Dollhouse, Altered Carbon, A.I., Ex Machina, Her ...) and I don't feel it has anything new to say. There is very little in the way of "mystery", and often it falls into clichés ...

    Spoiler: spoilers
    ... like playing guess who's a replicant and doesn't know it yet™, waiting for them to find the Acme security loophole/bleeding heart human with which they can outsmart their masters™, throwing darts at the question of what is consciousness™, what it means to be human™, yadda yadda).

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