Posts Tagged ‘sci-fi’

ST: Discovery – other voices

Sun ,31/01/2021

good to hear others checking in on what’s good and still needs improvement on this latest year of ST:D….With ‘Discovery,’ ‘Star Trek’ Is Finally Moving Forward

candybowl

Star Trek Discovery: Season 3 – reactions, spoilers?

Thu ,14/01/2021

So finished up watching Season 3 the other night. Here’s some reactions (and yes, the inevitable spoilers if you read far enough – be forewarned!)

positives:
1) This is a **way** more exciting and cohesive long-story than Season 2. One of the best things about Season 1 was the excellent and multi-episode storytelling, including the mysterious reveals as to Capt. Lorca and others – but Season 2 kind of squandered that and went in a lot of different, sometimes meaningless directions. I had heard there were some personnel changes behind the scenes during Season 2, which may have affected things, not sure – but they definitely righted the ship for Season 3, to be sure.

2) They are obviously spending the money on this show, the effects are amazing and they’ve kept them top-notch throughout.

3) There were more ‘overt’ bad guys this season, including aspects of some of the main characters, Georgiou being most notable of course. But Osira later and a few others mid-season stood out too.

4) they spent even more time on character development – while this crew seems to have among the most ‘main characters’ of any Star Trek to date (including DS9) already at the start, they introduced at least 1-3 new ones this year too, depending on your perspective (but more on the downside of that below);

5) Better focus. They stuck to a simpler overall long plot (what caused The Burn) and the various adventures taken to figure it out;

6) good to look back at why people left the Federation, especially Vulcan/Nav’arr – and then the attempt to bring them back, definitely one of the best episodes.

Gripes and spoilers
1) there was a bit too much of Saru’s inner struggles for me. I realize he was ‘growing into his role’ as Captain but it just seemed like he’d have matured faster than they wrote him to over the course of the season.

2) Other than aiding Burnham when she wants to go rogue – what does Georgiou do all day otherwise? Great character but definitely unclear – she’s not ship security, she’s not Empress (save for her series exit late in the season) – so is she just a passenger?

3) Too many main characters – I like that they’ve done far more character development but unless they want to do more episodes per season, they really don’t have the time to share lines with that many main cast members? Especially if they are introducing new characters like Book, Adeira and slightly more minor characters like the Admiral, Osira and similar? yes, going back to Kirk, Spock and McCoy beaming down to every planet is way too simplified but at some point they need to simply focus on who they already have on the ship?

4) Burnham is one of the most interesting and dynamic central characters in any Star Trek series to date, but (as some characters like Book and Georgiou snidely remark from time to time) she can’t resolve EVERY problem they run into (whether within or against regulations).

5) I’m glad they brought back Federation HQ but then they all but never showed us ANY of the latest starships they have? Discovery is literally in nearly every scene – they showed more of Osira’s ship than any other Federation vessel(s) once they found the HQ?

6) Why does Discovery need ‘floating’ nacelles? How is that an advantage for any reason?

7) While it made for decent fight scenes, the ‘infinite turbolift’ scenes in the last couple episodes were simply ridiculous. It felt like something out of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory or the planet-building scene out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

8) there were more than a few key moments sprinkled across the season where there’s obviously a tight deadline, ship about ready to be destroyed, Federation lost, etc. – yet the characters are ‘monologuing‘ a bit too much instead of solving the problem?

9) I liked that they gave Georgiou a two-part farewell, but I felt it wasn’t a tight enough story, despite a cameo from an old friend, which was very cool and I didn’t seem coming, to be sure! I get that she needs to kill ‘bad Burnham’ to move on and grow as a person but the other plotters would have wacked her before the first episode ended if past plots based on the ‘mirror Empire’ are any measure?

10) They are getting way too free with the ability to ‘talk to people instantly’ no matter where they are in the universe (because now with the spore drive they can go anywhere in nearly an instant), yet call up the Admiral and have a chat anytime with full fidelity? At least in the first two seasons they at least pretended there were times where that wasn’t possible. I realize the Federation upgraded a lot of Discovery when they found HQ, but really?

11) Ultimately, the explanation for The Burn was a bit weak in the end. It all made sense and it was far better than the ending of Season 2 which was a huge mish-mash free for all – but just too pat, even though they tried to make it exciting, i’ll give them props for that.

12) the whole ‘sphere data’ thing was definitely way underused and only pulled out as a McGuffin from time to time when convenient (e.g. last two episodes but there were other times too) – if it’s sentient, wouldn’t it be doing more interesting things (possibly like trying to get OFF Discovery, which is being chased by Orion pirates all over the galaxy, not the safest place to be)?

So on balance, a pretty strong season, good bad guys and some great episodes. Looking forward to Season 4 but due to covid, not expecting that for at least another year at this point?

candybowl

RIP, President Lindberg.

Fri ,11/12/2020

you were one of a kind. RIP.

Thomas ‘Tiny’ Lister Jr., ‘Friday’ actor, dead at 62 after apparently experiencing Covid-19 symptoms

candybowl

Ultraman is BACK.

Sun ,29/11/2020

So I never got around to watching the original 60s cheesy live-action Ultraman – always more a Gojira guy, but maybe someday. In the meantime, Netflix has been doing a bunch of new, original anime, and they put out a season of Ultraman last year – i have to say, despite the usual anime sometimes-main-character-silliness, it’s actually pretty good, especially the buildup to the last few episodes of season 1 – here’s to season 2 – maybe they can do these faster than live-action given CV19 production and content development limitations?

here’s the trailer for season 1 – great stuff!

candybowl

Dare I dream?

Mon ,10/08/2020

Jared Leto’s Tron 3 may actually happen

from IMDB – cryptic too….

need to rewatch Tron:Uprising in the meantime…

candybowl

Devs….Hm…..

Sun ,26/07/2020

So, I recently watched Devs – not sure what I think about this mini-series, quite honestly (partial spoilers coming, be forewarned):

On the one hand, it’s **very** well made, both the tech angle as well as simply production values and cinematography. They didn’t skimp on the budget, even though there’s really only two well known actors in it, Nick Offerman and Alison Pill, the latter of whom I wouldn’t even have known about but for her similarly-excellent work in Star Trek: Picard of late.

All the actors are very good too, especially the main overt villain, security guy Kenton (most of the characters in this movie have at least some aspect of villainy in their actions and dialogue, though). You really want Kenton to meet a bad end by the end of the series, to be sure.

It’s a really dark show, like much of TV sci-fi of late (Dark, Westworld, etc.) – not sure if that’s a reflection of our times, or just of recent screenwriting/market trends, but there it is.

Another comment i’ll make is the blatantly obvious (to the viewer only at first, but later you can tell other characters know too) endgame of Forest (Nick Offerman’s central character). While by the end he kind of ends up getting a “version” of what he wants, the end (to me) leaves too many plotlines untied. They all but ignore the rationale for all the money, time and effort spent in building the system in the first place to simply rationalize it (to the Senator visiting) about why it has to ‘survive’ – for Forest’s original reason…?  And ok, they have a small dev team but there’s no way they could spend the kind of money they claim (directly or indirectly) they did to build the facility and computer and still keep it all under wraps like that?  Come on.

Second, Stewart’s role in the end two episodes is simply inconsistent with the previous plot and un-believable. If he really felt that way, he could have told the police instead of acting on his own (and strictly speaking, making himself a bad actor in the end too). Not consistent.

Third, the way Katie (to me it was pretty clear, no matter what the plot wants you to believe) tricks Lyndon in the end was pretty much BS. And that he bought into it – despite being a brilliant late-teen computer geek and young, he still should have seen through it – If Lily could have seen through everything (and ultimately does by the end), he should have too.

Finally, the overlying ‘determinism is the nature of the world’ commentary going on as of the 2-3rd episode onward by Forest, Katie and others is also BS. No matter how great their computer, software or otherwise might become, there’s simply NO WAY to model the entire universe to do what they claim it can do. And yes, the counterargument to that is ‘well, it’s never been done – yet’ – yeah right, and “this plot has never been used – yet” by many other previous stories and thinkers – give me a break. The show even doesn’t take itself completely seriously given a character’s passing comment about techies ‘thinking they are messiahs’ – and then proceeds to ignore it’s own self-awareness? Nope, doesn’t work.

In short – this *is* entertaining, well-made fare but not for everyone and you may find it doesn’t work for you for the above (or even different) reasons, of course.

Candybowl

promising?

Sat ,18/07/2020

Discovery Season 1 was GREAT. Season 2 was so-so. There were flashes of brilliance but the long-term plot was way over-convoluted and seemed to meander way, way too much – a lot like one of the last seasons of BSG until they got it together at the end. this Season 3 trailer looks good though….in the meantime there’s Doom Patrol and The Umbrella Academy about to resume end of this month….

new Ghost in the Shell…SAC_2045

Sat ,20/06/2020

Didn’t even know about this until a friend mentioned it, so naturally had to bing-watch the first season (only 12 episodes avail. at the moment).

So here’s my take on it so far (some spoilers, so be forewarned):

1) Same characters as Stand Alone Complex – they spend the first couple episodes ‘getting the gang back together’ as it were. As seen near the end of the previous series (because ARISE was a prequel to SAC if memory serves, will have to go watch that again now too I guess 🙂 ) the world has been divvied up into four major ’empires’, and Japan is kind of an also-ran country now as primarily allied within the American Empire.

2) The animation is much more like a videogame this time around, no longer 2D cartoon-drawn-style. I have to say I prefer the earlier style, but this isn’t bad. I think they start to hit their stride a few episodes in – the first few to me looked way too ‘Playstation’ like but it improves over time.

3) The Tachikomas are back, albeit there are a bit fewer of them. Otherwise largely the same, very capable but more comic relief in some ways – there’s also a new character, a PhD math wizard chick (Purin) who in some ways is similar, other ways much smarter. While she has a cyberbrain like the others, she is more akin to Chief Aramaki and Togusa – not a cyborg.

Some additional comments:

a) like the reviewer comment from the IMDB page, the plot takes a bit to really get going, so looking forward to next season given it’s nowhere near resolved by the end.

b) while they are minor characters in the other series too, both Borma and Paz show up only later and I don’t think Paz even has one line of dialog that I can remember – yet.

c) like all GITS shows – barring the lamely-executed American movie with Scarlet J, which was about as effective a ‘translation’ to live action as the Aeon Flux movie was (in other words, fairly major disappointment) – it’s far better to watch these in Japanese with subtitles, IMHO. Same as with Initial D and other anime i’ve watched – you just get a much better sense of the characters and the way that here too – the ‘posturing’ goes on between them, here mostly for Batou but the Major does a bit of it from time to time too.

d) another nit: I’m not sure on timelines here, but I’d have thought that Solid State Society was the last Stand Alone Complex series/movie/etc. (again, ARISE is a prequel so it predates Section 9 being created, kind of a Major Motoko ‘origin story’?) – but acc to IMDB that’s set in 2034, whereas this is supposedly 2045? I realize most of Section 9 are cyborgs so no issue, but Togusa and Aramaki? Hmm…..

So, all in all i’m eager to see more, the premise here (which I didn’t spoil for you) is actually pretty great, lots more to explore here.

candybowl

Data shows us how it’s done.

Sun ,19/04/2020

Especially in that second episode – awesome!

candybowl

it’s PEOPLE!!!!

Sun ,29/03/2020

Make Room! Make Room! versus Soylent Green: can film trump book?

Thankfully given the age (and the genius of Phil Hartman, RIP), it’s pretty hard to spoil 1973’s Soylent Green at this point. Saw this article in The Guardian this am and have to completely agree, movie is far better and more focused than the book, way better zap ending, too. I also knew (later) about this being EGR‘s final performance but not about the cancer diagnosis he never told others about – truly poignant. And of course Charlton Heston in his usual over-the-top craziness, gotta love that, perfect casting choice.

This riot/scoops scene completely freaked me out as a kid watching this, I had no idea what happened to the people once they were thrown in the truck, so scary.

here’s another take on the movie from 2013:

Soylent Green Is (More Than) People

The article does in fact leave out one other very cool piece of trivia – that movie was arguably the debut of one of the very first video games, Computer Space – the game is briefly shown when the Soylent executive and his GF are playing it in their condo, before he gets wacked, very early in the movie. Another piece of Nolan Bushnell marketing sharpshooting, although that game itself ultimately was a flop. But boy are they worth something these days….

candybowl