Real diversity is about more than just letting the freak flag fly.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2014/07/28 10:00
Point of clarification. When talking about "just different enough", it might be easy to think I'm stumping for the kind of far-out creativity that is epitomized by everything from Naked Lunch to bizarro fiction. Well, not really.
An attempt at politically tinged SF, but only an attempt: such are the risks of not thinking through fully the implications of your premise.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2014/07/14 10:00
Elysium is one of those movies that feels like it ends just when it's really getting interesting. That's not something I wanted to say about a film from the man who gave us District 9, one of the few recent SF movies that despite its action-ride ingredients actually felt like a science fiction movie and not just a tarted-up shoot/beat-'em-up. Neil Blomkamp's successor to District 9 has a larger budget (although, paradoxically, it doesn't feel like a much larger movie) and more explicitly political ambitions, but in ways that work against it. The earlier film was allegory; this one is just a tract, and a not especially insightful one at that.
Matt Damon plays Max, an ex-con factory grunt in a horribly overcrowded future Earth, where robot policemen administer impersonal beatings and Max's parole officer is a dingy computer. The rich and powerful have retreated to Elysium, a massive and idyllic orbital colony that looks like one giant Syd Mead painting. There, they enjoy near-immortality thanks to medical technology they refuse to share with the rest of the world. One day Max suffers an industrial accident that gives him a lethal dose of radiation poisoning, and so he takes a suicide mission from an old war buddy of his in the underground. If he helps them take Elysium, they'll let him heal himself in one of Elysium's doc-bots -- a favor he'd also like to grant his girlfriend's little girl, if possible.
It's the end of the world as we love it.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2014/07/09 10:00
I'm betting some of the people reading this get off, at least a little bit, on seeing the world end.
Admit it. There's a fun little zing that goes through some folks when they watch Los Angeles getting nuked in Terminator 2. There's something about scrambling through the ruins of The Last of Us, The Walking Dead, Revolution, Defiance, I Am Legend, 28 Days/Months Later, et any number of crumbling ceteras, that provides a bit of a frisson.
I've gotten that zing myself any number of times. I got it while watching several of the above-mentioned items; I got it while watching Kinji Fukasaku's Virus (a remake of that movie today would almost be a shoo-in, I think); and I got it while reading Earth Abides and even She: The Ultimate Weapon. I've been there, too.
So what is it about watching our world fall to pieces, whether from 2,000 megatons, a zombie overrun, or the spontaneous deaths of all living things, that galvanizes peoples' interests, not just once but over and over again?
Science fiction, rebooted.
New York City
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