Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Ready Steady Cut EP56 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

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This is Episode 56 of the Ready, Steady, Cut! Podcast. On this episode, with the re-release and 3D remastered version hitting limited cinemas, we discuss what is regarded to be the best Sci-Fi Sequel of all-time – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Trailer Talk is The Meyerowitz Stories and as always, we answer questions raised by our listeners and play another game of You Can’t Beat Me! This week it is iconic 80s characters

Episode Summary:

00:00 – Introduction and Episode Summary
04:48 – Trailer Talk – The Meyerowitz Stories
08:45 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day Discussion
1:00:16 – Questions from Listeners
1:13:02 – You Can’t Beat Me! – Iconic 80s Characters
1:27:27 – Final Comments

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Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

What’s this?

After many apparent hesitations, director Luc Besson and his wife decided to write an English-language French science fiction action-adventure film titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It is based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. I am not familiar with the comics but in the past couple of months, I have admired the trailers from a visual standpoint. Then again, the movie did have a budget of 197 million Euros, so it should look mightily impressive. The movie has nowhere near matched the budget in the box office, and it is the most expensive European and independent film ever made. Ouch. I would hate to deliver that news to the board.

What’s it about?

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a space station. Wait, this will not work. Instead, clear your mind for a minute and imagine a space station in 2020. Then years later, leading countries of the world attach their station to this one. Then many years later, other species from different planets send their station to join in on the action. This continues to happen until the 28th century. We now have one large planet made of cities (named Alpha) with a multitude of peace agreements. Still with me? Good. Now, imagine a planet far away with pale looking, peace loving Avatars, who are living in harmony amongst powerful energy-containing pearls, in a tropical paradise. All of a sudden, huge ships crash into their planet and they are wiped out. Lead male character Valerian wakes up. He just had a dream about this decimated planet and he is about to embark on a mission with Laureline ordered by his commander to retrieve a converter. They are later told that Alpha is infected by an unknown force and they must investigate and protect the Commander, suspiciously performed by Clive Owen.

Can you see why I told you to close your eyes? This narrative has so many obstacles to jump around that, at times, it felt mentally challenging.

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Review – Prey

What’s this?

Weirdly enough, it’s absolutely nothing to do with 2006’s Prey, a topsy-turvy sci-fi shooter that, if memory serves, had an arsenal of weaponry comprised of living extraterrestrial organisms that would belch gelatinous projectiles at the player’s foes. It also had a wrench, which means that, as a matter of fact, 2006’s Prey does indeed have something in common with 2017’s Prey, and it’s newer, shinier wrench, as well as 2007’s Bioshock, with its underwater, objectivist wrench, and even 1999’s System Shock 2, which had a blocky, pixelated wrench, and is a game to which all of those listed above owe a rather significant mechanical and thematic debt.

It’s another first-person sci-fi quasi-horror wrench-swinging RPG, is what I’m saying.

Could have just said that.

I could, yes, but – let’s be frank – these creatively-bankrupt titling practices are really starting to get on my fucking nerves. The old Prey isn’t even that old. And it hardly cemented itself as an iconic brand; it doesn’t seem to me that there’s much sense in slapping the name across what is, for all intents and purposes, a perfectly serviceable new IP. That’s Bethesda for you though, isn’t it? Never a thought spared for the lowly consumers like me who write themselves in knots trying to review the thing. It’s not even enough to specify that it’s another – all together now – “spiritual successor” to System Shock 2, because so is Doom 3 and Dead Space and, if we’re being honest, every sci-fi horror game released in this millennium. You also have to clarify that’s its set on a spaceship and it’s about an alien invasion and there’s a wrench in it.

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Review – Transformers: The Last Knight

What’s this?

You know what this is: the FIFTH of Michael Bay’s inexplicably-successful Transformers movies. I’ve never met a single person who genuinely likes these things, and yet they still continue to pull in astronomical Box Office figures, so there must be someone, somewhere, who’s going to see them. This review is for those people, whoever and wherever they might be.

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Review – Dead Space 2

In many ways, Dead Space 2 is the perfect sequel to an already excellent video game. It takes the best components of its predecessor and develops them in new and interesting ways, alters or removes the parts that didn’t work, and polishes everything in-between until the whole thing gleams. I also didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I thought I would.

It’s difficult to really articulate why, because Dead Space 2 is better than Dead Space in pretty much every way. It’s also a wholly different game, with a peculiar focus on telling a story which I suspect nobody really cares about, and telling that story in a way which runs contrary to what made the minimalist narrative of the first game such a pleasure to unravel. Also, it isn’t scary, which for a purported survival horror game is a pretty big deal.

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Review – Alien: Covenant

Ah, the Xenomorph. The alien. H. R. Giger’s contribution to the pantheon of movie monsters is made of goo and glistening sinew; long, slender limbs, and an oblong cranium like a cyclist’s helmet. And that mouth! It’s all teeth and tongue, and another little head on a stalk, with its own razor-sharp gnashers. Since Ridley Scott’s 1979 original, a character in almost all of these movies has told us that the Xenomorph is the perfect organism. It’s evolved and adapted and perfected. Designed for a specific, singular purpose: To kill people in horror movies.

The Xenomorph is still interesting, and, despite its cultural ubiquity, sometimes still scary. It’s the abstract embodiment of cosmic phobia; the lanky amalgamation of every unknowable horror awaiting mankind in the bleak vastness of space. At least, it should be. But Prometheus, and now Covenant, the second in a planned trilogy of prequels designed to re-contextualise the original film, seem determined to give the Xenomorph the one thing it doesn’t need: Backstory. A mythos. A reason. A large part of why the spare minimalism of Alien worked is that it was devoid of reason. The alien was the what, but it was also the why.

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Opinion – Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar should be viewed as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, and here I discuss why.

I am a deep thinker when it comes to the universe, and what this film manages to do is give the feeling of limitless space and the impossible task of demonstrating how difficult space exploration will be when it is our time to space travel. I say our time because it is inevitable, is it not? NASA is already putting the technical processes and the technology in place to get humans onto Mars by 2030. Interstellar goes deeper than NASA’s plan – this is deep space exploration, whereby going through a black hole looks and feels possible on the big screen. The film manages to make the audience feel like they are on the journey of traveling such incredible distances using impressive visuals and amazing cinematography.

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