Looking Back on Sci Fi September* (part the second)

October 6, 2010

The continuing saga of good (and bad) Sci Fi movies watched with good friends.

Star Trek

Every time I plan to watch Star Trek again I worry that I’ll have gotten sick of it – that I will now have seen it too many times.  But every time, by the point where Kirk’s parents are talking on the intercom about what to call him, I’m hugging my knees in tension and sniffing back tears.  When they kick in with the main titles I’m lost in it.

What’s great: soundtrack, Spock, snarky dialogue, shiny shiny space ships, Bones,  updated ship-board uniforms (they look like real future-wear), Uhura, red-space-suited ensign scene, that “live long and prosper” can now mean “up yours”, Kirk, and the JJ Abrams patented camera shake.

District 9

I hated this movie.  In fact I got in a little fight with my sister for even suggesting that I watch it.  I behaved myself rather badly and got into quite a funk after watching it and sulked at her about that.  (Sorry, kiddo).

That said, its not a bad movie.  Its an interesting premise, well written and well filmed.  Good, thus far.  But I don’t like fiction where none of the protagonists manage to stand on, cling to, or even aim at the moral high ground.  Perhaps this was a very realistic picture of humanity but … I don’t subscribe to it. I don’t like to watch movies about gangs, concentration camps or the drowning of kittens either.

Overall reaction: Blech.

Star Gate

Now this was a pretty bad movie that I actually enjoyed quit a lot.  It may have been helped by the fact that we watched it after District 9 and well after midnight.

Stargate is delightfully campy.  Its a veritable melting pot of movie archetypes – you’ve got world weary military middle man, gruff general,  professorial nerd who can’t talk to real people, eager kid, beautiful stranger who risks her life for love, and a villain in too much eye makeup.  Plus the set mix of Egyptian pyramids, space ships and  military bunkers under mountains make a great candidate for “drink when it sucks”.

The Last Starfighter

So after we stayed up way too late drinking to Stargate, we got up the next morning, made pesto scrambled eggs and watched the Last Starfighter.  Which was just about as delightfully campy in its own way.

I was overjoyed to see Robert Preston (proving that he needed to work) playing the aging hukster alien Centauri.

We all enjoyed the notion that playing a cheap arcade game could prepare one to single handedly save the universe.

We were unanimous that Beta Alex was much cuter than Alex (mysterious because they were played by the same guy).

But most of all this movie was great because Alex had so clearly never seen a movie or a TV show before in his life (too much time playing Starfighter methinks).  This (young restless hero is swept up by fate and called on to save the universe) is the oldest story in fiction and he is just SO confused by the whole thing.  Its hilarious.

28 Days Later

This is the movie I wish District 9 had been.  Its a crazy dramatic story about a world gone wrong, sure, but the people wandering around in it haven’t entirely lost their humanity.  There are bad guys but there are also good guys and people in between.  Thank you, Danny Boyle.

By starting in medias res (28 days in) we skip over initial carnage in favor of isolated survivors.  I like Zombieland for the same reason.  Its a really interesting picture of what various people will do in an untenable situation.  And I like the “happy ending” even if it is just a touch unrealistic.

Those are all the movies (the last entry too) that we watched in our Sci Fi Fun marathon weekend.  Check back later for the rest of the month’s sci fi fun.

*AKA the Best September Ever


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