Snowpiercer and Sunshine: Opposite and alike

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Sunshine movie posterI recently had a chance to sit through the entirety of Sunshine, the Danny Boyle movie about a team of astronauts taking a nuclear payload to try to re-ignite a dying Sun.  And when it was over, I immediately thought of Bong Joon-ho’s movie Snowpiercer—not just because both movies happened to have Chris Evans in them—but because they are very similar, even with their very opposite settings.

The opposites are quite obvious: While Snowpiercer takes place on Earth, Sunshine takes place within close orbit of the Sun; in Snowpiercer, everything around them is dangerously cold, while in Sunshine, the heat and energy of the Sun is the chief natural threat.  And while Snowpiercer takes place aboard a train with hundreds of people aboard, Sunshine‘s crew of the Icarus II totals eight.

But it’s in the similarities that things get interesting. (Spoilers follow… these movies have been around long enough now.) Continue reading

Extant’s dubious technological mix

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Halle Berry in Extant

Halle Berry in Extant (CBS)

American audiences are presently being treated to a miniseries on CBS: Extant, the story of an astronaut (Halle Berry as Molly) who discovers that she somehow became pregnant while on a 13-month solo mission in space.

Naturally, I’m all for science fiction series, including mini-series (and I have no problem whatsoever with watching Halle Berry for an hour each week), so I was ready for a ride when the series started.

I was also hoping to see some interesting science and technology depicted in a story about an astronaut.  But there are some things about Extant that I didn’t expect, because… well, let me say that I’m not sure they’re well thought out. Continue reading

Review: Star Trek Into Daftness

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enterprise crash and burn

Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount)

Okay, right off I’m going to say the very first thing that came to mind when this movie was over:

“Thank the Great Bird of the Galaxy that I did not waste $28 to see this in a theatre.”

Yes, I easily resisted going to this movie when it hit the circuit, due to expectations that it would be a sloppy retelling of The Wrath of Khan, which wasn’t a great movie to begin with.  But a colleague asked me to see the movie at some point, because he wanted to know my opinion of it, especially given my love of Star Trek and my opinion of Wrath of Khan.  It just came available for rental on cable, so I’ve dutifully thrown away $6 and watched it with my wife.

So, without further ado, I am here to report that this Star Trek movie was ridiculous.  Patently.  Ridiculous. Continue reading