Captain, we have a spaceship on screen!

22 07 2017

New Dark Matter, new Killjoys, new Dr Who. Yeah, not everything is the best show ever and not all of them are at the height of their quality. But there was a time when spaceships on TV happened only in reruns and it went for a good while. We accept every mediocre superhero movie but somehow sci fi needs to be perfect. Well, right now it ain’t. But it’s amazing.

And and while we’re at it, if you claim you miss sci-fi why don’t you go watch Valerian this weekend?


Why does the new Appleseed trailer look like a generic western shooter?

23 06 2014

The last two Appleseed movies were amazing celebrations of high gloss high-tech, the sort of thing you just don’t see anymore. And as far as I know reasonably succesful too. So what’s this shit? It looks like any generic shooter trailer at E3. And our concept for new movie is…. BROWN!


Review: Robocop 2014

12 02 2014

Robocop_posterThe original Robocop is a classic for several reasons. Not only because the cyberpunk genre doesn’t have too many great frontrunners but also because it was a glorious parody of media violence and the massive power of cooperate culture’s influence on daily life. Now the problem that anyone who wants to make a remake of that has to face is that the cyberpunk genre is an outdated vision of the future and the main theme of the movie is no longer a relevant message. Of course one could still make a an orgy of violence like any other half decent action movie but can it still contain a message?

To my surprise the producers of the new Robocop rises to the occasion and manages a shift in its themes that is at the same time true to its roots and updated enough to be relevant. Instead of pure cooperate control it is about lobbyism, warfare for the sake of the arms industry and overzealous control and violence against the own populace. Even the owner evil cooperate goons have changed from classic goons in suit and ties to more colorful individuals that would be well at home heading a modern social media platform. So the new Robocop manages to do the impossible and have a theme that is relevant in modern times to dress up its robots and action. Nicely done.

Unfortunately that is all it is. Because this movie fails at the much more easy parts of being a good action movie and having a solid plot. The PG 13 rating certainly doesn’t do it any favors but one has to almost admire how they made the Robocop itself look more like a guy in a suit than the movie from the 80s. The pacing is all over the place, half the movie working towards introducing the character differently than the original only to switch back to the same thing at the last-minute, wasting some 30 minutes of mindnumbingly boring training.

Oh and he's black now. Because...they wanted to make Batman? I have no idea people.
Oh and he’s black now. Because…they wanted to make Batman? I got nothing.

That alone would condemn it to be hated since not entertaining your audience is still the major crime any movie can commit but for me personally their massive flaws in logic are much more painful.  The Robocop itself is an utterly useless machine clearly inferior to the pure robot versions already in use. They even say so themselves. Right before letting him defeat a few dozen because he has superior had and software. Which you know they could have built into the robots too. They really only make one of their machines weaker to make it more relatable to people. It’s a publicity stunt to make one of their highly effective war machines less dangerous.

The pure robotic version with no organic parts to weaken it and no consience to slow it down. They just don't build one with the same quality of hardware or it would beat the shit out of their star.

And of course like all remakes it tries so very hard to make the viewer belief it is smarter and more mature about than the original only to utterly fail in the end and show they didn’t understand shit about their subject matter. You can talk about dopamine levels in the brain and feed nutrients for the organic parts all day to make it look like you took care of the details but in the very end the original Robcop understood what it was about. The machine could not defeat its programming. The plot worked arround it, allowing Robocop to shoot the main villain after the programmed failsafe to prevent it was no longer in effect. The new Robocop simply does the same thing by overcoming the problem with his pure willpower. Because.. souls! Or something along those lines apparently are more important than a full system shutdown.

Oh yea we added a natural hand just so it looks even more like he's wearing a costume!

Oh yea we added a natural hand just so it looks even more like he’s wearing a costume!

While the mind’s ability to overcome problems is a classic theme this movie is absolutely the wrong place for this sort of thing and only serves to show that the writers were simply going through the motions, doing the same thing as always instead of really caring about their subject matter.

Now I could get into the fact that none of the actors really sold their part or how the current state of Detroit is so screwed up that even the old Robocop movie looks more like a documentary than a parody while the new one doesn’t even adress the issue but honestly the movie already is boring and stupid, does it even matter anymore?

Holy shit! The new Ed 209s look awesome. The sad truth is that it is still worth seeing this movie just to see some robots in action. Its not like we get a lot of that.
Holy shit! The new Ed 209s look awesome. The sad truth is that it is still worth seeing this movie just to see some robots in action. Its not like we get a lot of that.

J. Michael Stracynski explains why most TV scifi is awful

9 08 2013

Crazy-making? Seriously? And I have to argue with potential employers if my English is good enough to write for them? Anyway, the rest here seems sadly true but in no way surprising. The one hope I do have is that he is wrong about crowdfunding since I suspect that will proof a whole lot of assumptions about what people want wrong.

The problem is that the networks still don’t take SF seriously, or even feel threatened by it. I’ve had executives say that a space-show doesn’t work because people don’t care about what happens to characters in space, it has to be on earth or nobody’ll be interested. I’ve had them say “you can do whatever you want, it’s scifi, it doesn’t have to make sense.” Because it’s SF they always think that somehow or other The Fate Of The World has to be at stake. If you’re doing a drama, no one suggests that solving the relationship problems of the murder has to save the world, but they feel that it has to be that way if you’re writing SF, which is why it’s also so often the rule in SF movies. It’s absolutely crazy-making. 2001, one of the most classic SF motion pictures of all time, could never get made today. Not a chance. Too cerebral, they’d say. Not enough action. All the crowdsourcing in the world won’t rewire the neurons engaged in that kind of thinking.

I keep waiting for a paradigm shift to happen that will let network and studio execs see that SF is the same as any other genre in terms of how you approach it – logically, character based, with challenging ideas and forward thinking – but I worry that it might never happen in my lifetime.

Pacific Rim: The Godannar movie?

6 07 2013

by AngryPanda

Westernizing Japanese properties in more serious, gritty and usually not very popular western versions has a long tradition.

Yet while Pacific Rim does look like a darker and adult version of cheesy old action series like Godannar it looks less like bastardized western production it reminds me more of the exceptionally entertaining Yamato movie which was also a very dark looking version of the old franchise simply because the setups for these shows are pretty grim despite all the pretty colors. A union between several pilots and their machine is basically a staple of the mecha genre and something I’ve never seen in western productions so far. Not to mention they even go right out and call the giant monsters Kaiju. This one looks very promising to me right now. In the current climate of reusing old IPs for marketing value I’m almost surprised they didn’t slap one of the dozens of mecha cartoon titles onto it though. I hope their attempt to stand completely on their own feet doesn’t fail between all the remakes that dominate the moviescape right now.


So that’s where Phil was!

6 02 2012

by AngryPanda

Link to AT AT awesomeness provided by no one less than Michaell Fucking Stackpole (shut up I’m sure that’s what the A in his name stands for…). You can follow this guy on Twitter! I just found out! 2005 I’m so catching up to you! You don’t know what the fuzz is about? Well that’s because I’ve been lazy again and didn’t write about Mr Stackpole yet. So you can’t know what this dude means to me. Obviously you might know what he means to you but seriously not even your mom cares about your nerd icons so who gives a damn?

Anyway the really important thing is that after raising the question what Phil Tippett has been doing while the Raptors tried to eat the brats in Jurassic Park we finally have the answer. 

He's been building AT ATs. Honestly would you have cared if the local pets eat some kids no one had wanted in the movie anyway while you could build these? Didn't think so.

Happy 48th anniversary Dr Who!

23 11 2011

by AngryPanda

You still didn’t answer my letter but I’m sure it will happen. Still it is time to mention some of the things I never got around to about Dr Who. I only started watching this series 3 years ago and it worked it’s up to my absolutely favorite series of all genres in all times. It is just that awesome.

Now I was a little worried about the 11th Doctor and a new writer and I have to admit I was right. I like this incarnation less than the previous two. And I think the writing is weaker in the recent seraons too. Although it makes up for that somewhat by a much quicker pace.

That said Mat Smith is a great Doctor, saying he is not as good as the two before him is like saying Grimlock is not as big as Godzilla. This series is so far above and beyond absolutely everything else that even if it is just a little less incredible than before it is still a fucking supernova compared to the candlelights that make up it’s competition.

And while I have to say I liked 9 and 10 a little more Matt Smith pulls of the mad scientist the best. He is fucking insane and he’s having so much fun playing the Doctor. I hope he stays in the role for a long time.