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Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi movie’

Thursday I completed the novel “Ender’s Game” (1985©), written by Orson Scott Card.  The novel is an expanded version of a short story Card wrote back in 1977 for a SciFi magazine.  The book is fairly well know in SciFi circles and won both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novel.  Both awards are for best SciF novel with the Nebula being the American award and the Hugo being the international version of same.  In addition to the “normal” SciFi crowd, the book is popular in the military community and is “expected” reading in at least one branch (U.S. Marine Corps).
Basically, the book is a coming of age story for a young (pre-teen) Caesar / Napoleonic / Alexander character who, through an undiscussed eugenics process, has been bred to lead the combined Earth forces in an interplanetary war against a race of giant ants called the “Formics”.  They are more “affectionately” called “bugs” or “buggers”.  The story traces his (Andrew “Ender” Wiggin) life from just before he leaves his family, through his “growing-up” at a military academy to the end of the war.  To say much more is to give away a substantial amount of the ending.
Despite the implausibility of a story about an 11 year old being granted the authority to lead an interplanetary armada and the short span of time between “know-nothing” to force commander, the story is a pretty good one.  The story is very much “Lord of the Flies” -In-Space, but I still found the book and the twist at the end enjoyable.  In fairness to the reader coming at the book for the first time, I must admit, I saw the movie version first and enjoyed it too.  The movie (same name) was released in late 2013, and having seen the previews, it piqued my interest.  In the end, I never saw it at the theater because I thought it was going to be a “young Harry Potter saves the world from aliens” kid’s movie.  Anyway, I remembered the movie preview and when I got a chance to catch it on the tube, I took advantage of the opportunity.  I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I did.  This in turn led me to be on the look-out for the book(s) – there is a whole series – which I have finally gotten into.
The movie tracks the book pretty accurately, so the book’s ending wasn’t the surprise it might have been, but I felt (as usual) the book had the time and space to explain what was happening a lot better than the movie did.  This isn’t a criticism of the movie as much as it is an acknowledgement that action movies don’t lend themselves to narration accept at the beginning and ending.  In between, it’s the action which is supposed to tell the story (normally).
I found the military tactics, personal combat, team building, working on one’s craft, and the personal/internal conflict about the morality of inflicting pain and death on an enemy to all be accurate within my (very) limited experience of each.  Fortunately, I was never placed in a position to shoot / kill someone, but I still have distinct memories of basic training and realizing there was a reason the “targets” were silhouettes of the enemy instead of simple concentric rings.  We were being trained to shoot at other humans, not at bull’s-eyes’.
I found the movie interesting and enjoyable, but also troubling.  Because the book explains more, it is more troubling.  So my final recommendation for the movie is recommended, and, for the book, highly recommended.  If it’s good enough for the Marine Corps “Recommended Reading List”, it’s good enough for me!
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On This Day In:
2014 Two Thoughts
2013 RIP – Dear Abby
Half-Life Problems
2012 To The Soul…
2011 Reverted!!

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I am sure there is someone out there who can (will) correct me, but one of the first movies to “decently” portray a cyborg-type / exoskeleton / robot suit was the original RoboCop.  It seems as if since the production of “Ironman” with Robert Downey Jr., every actor has to fill out his / her career by putting on a suit of armor or an exoskeleton.  Today’s review is about Matt Damon’s effort, titled: “Elysium“.
As dystopian, Sci-Fi, special-effects movies go, this is a pretty entertaining movie.  I am a Matt Damon fan and this movie certainly doesn’t hurt his fan base.  It’s not a great role for him.  It kind of feels like: “been there, done that” action / adventure that he has done multiple times in the “Bourne” series, but I’m not a fan who thinks every role has to stretch a particular actor.  Some roles are kind of career fillers.  I think this is that kind of role for Damon.
So, let’s see…  Man is about to die, one chance to live, have an exoskeleton bonded to your body, go save yourself and the whole planet, too.  Yup.  That about sums it up.  Does he get it done? (What do you think?)
If I have any objection to this movie, it’s the same I have to the entire genre: having a iron shell or exoskeleton, does not make the internal functions of the human body sturdier.  If you get thrown ten feet and crash into a steel or cement wall – you are still dead from concussions and damage to internal organs.  I don’t care what kind of skeleton you have.  I will make allowances for the “Wolverine” character, but that’s only because he also has a super-healing power to go along with his internal metal skeleton.  The rest of these action heroes – sorry, you’re all dead on impact.
Having said that, the special effects in this movie are pretty good – particularly the “good” earth (Elysium) orbiting the bad earth.  In case you’re wondering where you heard the term / name before, it was the Heaven / Valhalla equivalent place mentioned in the movie “Gladiator“.  If you find yourself there, don’t worry about the battle, your friends or how you got there, cause you’re already dead…  I’m not sure if it’s intended or unintended irony that the “bad” but mostly innocent (better) folks live in “Heaven”.  I’m not sure if it’s intended or unintended social-political commentary that the hard-working and “bad / lesser” people live on Earth (Hell).
Despite my reservations mentioned above this is a pretty good Sci-Fi movie and I would put it between moderate to highly recommended depending on if your into Sci-fi, action / adventure, good versus evil movies.  Obviously, I am and I enjoyed this movie.
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On This Day In:
2013 Future Trustees
2012 Praise Not The Day…
2011 Educated Living

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