Archives For science fiction

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As promised, I will be posting the occasional movie review.

Here’s my review of Leonardo DiCaprio’s new science fiction flick “Inception.”

Avatar

Rated PG13

Directed by James Cameron

Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Zaldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating:  Graphics 4.5/5, Storyline 2.5/5

Word of Warning: At nearly 3 hours, it’s a good idea to visit the restroom before settling in for a viewing of “Avatar.”

My husband has been excitedly awaiting this film, so we tried to see it during opening week, but the theater was too packed. We finally saw it last week, but what can I write about “Avatar” that hasn’t already been written? 

After standing in a 30-minute line, we donned our sexy 3D glasses, only to discover they were filthy. These new, technologically advanced 3D shades are reused by the theater and are suppose to be washed between shows. We tried wiping our glasses clean on our shirts and then settled in for the ride.

And “Avatar” is a ride. The audience is transported to a world 150 years in the future. Having all the destroyed their own planet, mankind is in deep space looking for resources; resources they will do anything to obtain. Anything.

The humans have discovered the planet Pandora. While I thought the world resembled an LSD trip, my husband compared it to a Vegas show. The world is home to a species that has a special connection with their planet. In fact they can literally hook into the world around them by using a special organ inside their hair. I know this sounds weird, and it is. These people, called the Na’vi, culturally resemble Native Americans and look like the cast of Cats.

Because Pandora is toxic to human beings, the humans have created avatars that look like Na’vi. The avatars are consciously connected to their human “drivers.” Allowing the humans to infiltrate the Na’vi tribe. 

Of course, Pandora, complete with fierce creatures and glowing plants, has a valuable resource the humans want and need. To keep things simple let’s call this resource “oil.” The “oil” just so happens to be located directly under one of the Na’vi’s largest and most holy of settlements. Once the humans realize they will be unable to convince the Na’vi to move their settlement, the humans go to Plan B. 

We get it Hollywood – we humans are bad – really, really bad. This theme is continually shoved down the viewer’s throat throughout this movie. If you can get past the blatant bashing of human being as a species, the special effects in “Avatar” are worth the extra money to see it.

While the storyline is uninspired and predictable, the graphics are super duper cool. Years from now, we will look back at “Avatar” the way we look back at the original “Star Wars.” It will look dated and we will laugh. But today the world sits in awe of what computer geeks are now able to produce and bring to life on a theater screen. Now if only Hollywood could have hired some good writers to work on “Avatar.” I guess it’s too much to ask for, this time around.

Note: I was worried about motion sickness, a side effect I’ve experience in both “Beowulf” and “Caroline” in 3D, but thankfully, I didn’t experience any at this movie. I think the more advanced wrap-around 3D glasses helped with this problem.  

 Surrogates Poster

 Rated R

Directed by Jonathan Mostow

Starring Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, James Francis Ginty

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 3.5/5

Word of Warning: Don’t over think it, just enjoy.

I’ve been at odds with the critics for several weeks now. Oh, let’s face it, I’m often at odds with the critics. So maybe Jonathan Mostow won’t be winning a best director Oscar for this one, but this let’s not kid ourselves. This movie was never going to win an Oscars no matter who directed it.

“Surrogates” is just plain fun. Think, “Total Recall,” a movie I watch anytime I run across it on television. You can’t over think these kinds of movies, just watch and enjoy them for what they are – far out science fiction flicks meant to entertain, not educate.

This movie is based on the 2005-2006, comic book series “Surrogates.” The year is 2017, and things are very different. Most humans across the planet have opted to utilize a surrogate in their every day life. From the comfort of their home they control this surrogate through their mind. The surrogate performs their daily (and nightly tasks), needing only brief charging time throughout a 24-hour period. Confused? Think “Sims,” except not in a virtual world, but in the real world.

SurrogatesAs expected, people have chosen surrogates with stereotypical good looks, so the world is full of beautiful people…er, robots being controlled by people.

The rise of surrogates has changed a lot of things. For instance, surrogates have replaced soldiers on the battlefield, controlled by enlisted soldiers from pods safely located away from the war zone. Surrogates are all monitored, so crime has virtually disappeared. Since the real humans are controlling their surrogates from the safety of their homes, and the surrogates cannot be technically “injured” or “killed,” accidental death isn’t a concern. In fact, the company that created surrogates is now introducing their newest line of children surrogates.

There are those humans who have refused to use surrogates. The group, led by a man who calls himself, “The Prophet” (played by Ving Rhames), lives in human-only communes, and the relationship between these “dreads” and the outside world is tense. 

FBI Agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis), who uses a surrogate in every day life, and his partner Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell), have been put on a disturbing case. There’s been a murder of a surrogate, and his operator has also died because of the event. This has never happened before. Operators have always been unscathed, even when catastrophic events occur to their surrogates. The mystery deepens when yet another surrogate is killed, and its operator is also found dead.

This is where the real fun starts. Greer must find out who is killing surrogates and operators before the surrogate-using public finds out they are at risk. Greer soon finds he is in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy, and he begins to doubt everything he has come to believe.

There’s never a bad-looking person in the movies these days; even movie extras are beautiful people. Somehow “Surrogates” is able to make the audience believe the surrogates really are plastic. Whether it is make up or lighting, each gorgeous surrogates somehow looks fake, and this works to advance a somewhat plausible storyline in this movie.

Though the movie bats around themes of “big brother” and our modern-day obsession with youth and beauty, it isn’t a message movie. It’s just an enjoyable sci-fi, definitely worth a matinee price. Especially if you’ve enjoyed such films as “Total Recall” or other eighties and early nineties science fiction flicks.

Also appearing in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.

"District 9" a review

August 18, 2009 — 1 Comment

District 9

Troy Cook, Guest Writer 

Should I stay or should I go now? That’s the question we all face with a new movie and I have to say that “District 9” is a definite go. It’s an unusual and highly original science-fiction film that… continue reading review.

HeidiTown is proud to feature guest writer Troy Cook. He is a former movie director and author of two popular mystery novels, “47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers,” and “The One Minute Assassin.”

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Cook will use his skills as a writer and his vast knowledge of the movie industry to review “District 9.”

Read all about Troy Cook here.

Visit Troy Cook’s Website at www.TroyCook.net.

MOON

In a summer full of big blockbusters with little substance, “Moon” is a refreshing departure from summer’s standard fare.

This movie has been open in limited release since June 12, but just hit Colorado theaters last weekend. The only place to see “Moon” in Northern Colorado is at… continue reading this review.

datalooking

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been a fan of “Star Trek: the Next Generation” since childhood. The new movie, “Star Trek,” due out Friday, is bringing out my inner-geek.

My all-time favorite character from the Star Trek franchise is Data, played brilliantly by Brent Spiner. When I was a child, Data intrigued me simply because he was a robot, but as I grew older, I realized it was his unyielding fascination with human beings that makes the character so enjoyable. In Data’s desire to unravel the mystery of what it is to be human, we, as the human audience, discover a little something about ourselves.

Some of my most beloved episodes involve Data delving into the character of Sherlock Holmes while on the holodeck. Like Data, Holmes is always rational and logical, and Holmes is probably the one human Data  ever really figured out.

My second favorite character was Q. John de Lancie played this puzzling, God-like alien, who liked to pop on board the Enterprise whenever he felt like mucking around. He especially liked to goad the usually unflappable Captain Picard. Episodes featuring Q provided some of the most entertaining shows in the series.

Who was your favorite character?

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My father was a fan of the original “Star Trek” series, and introduced my brother and me to Captain Kirk and Spock when we were still wee children.  But it wasn’t the original series that held my unswerving attention. As an adolescent I was a huge fan of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”  I’ve seen every episode at least twice and in an admission of my inner-geek, I am collecting each season on DVD.  

The new movie, simply entitled “Star Trek,” will open in two days, and my excitement is mixed with a bit of apprehension. The previews seem to target a teen audience, but previews can be misleading. The casting is an odd mixture; you will recognize many of the faces, but not be able to put names to all of them.

Chris Pine has been cast as a young Captain Kirk. Unfortunately, for those who sat painfully through “Bottle Shock,” it is obvious Pine won’t be winning an Oscar anytime soon – the moment he opens his mouth the blond haired, blue eyed hunk exemplifies the California surfer dude stereotype. Perhaps this won’t matter, as William Shatner wasn’t known for his elegant prose or excellent acting abilities.

There were several good picks by the studio.  Simon Pegg, a very funny British actor, plays Scotty. “Heroes” bad boy Zachary Quinto (“Heroes” Sylar) looks like he will play a convincing young Spock.  Eric Bana, excellent Australian actor (and handsome), has also been cast in the new film. Winona Ryder snagged herself a role in the film, a competent actress before she became better known for thieving undies from Sack’s 5th Avenue.  A slew of young stars will appear, along with Lenard Nimoy (I heard rumors of William Shatner’s displeasure at not being asked to appear, but this is unsubstantiated).  

J.J. Abrams directed this movie, which is being promoted as an action-packed thrill ride.

Will this “Star Trek” delight or disappoint?  We shall see, but I will be in line on Friday, with the rest of the Trekkies – I will be the one not in a Star Fleet uniform.

earth-stood-still

Rated PG13

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Jaden Christopher Smith

Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 1

Word of Warning: Run, don’t walk away from the theater.

 

This movie represents a modern day twist on the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951). In the first version, an alien visits earth to warn the humans about their impending doom if they cannot abandon warfare (specifically, atomic power). His message is simple, if humans cannot stop their war faring ways, Earth will be destroyed.

 

Read the rest of this review HERE.

This is not a movie for everyone. Several people walked out of our theater during “Blindness.”

Read my review HERE.