6.14.2009

I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan...

I think I mentioned before that, even though I don't read a lot of science fiction, I do watch a lot of it. I really like scifi movies and tv series. I've been thinking back to when it started, and I believe it was that magical cinematic moment when Leia took Luke's gun and started shooting storm troopers while Luke worked on a way to get them over that reactor core chasm on the Death Star. A scifi heroine who wasn't a helpless bimbo! It's different now, of course. Most of the time.

Anyway, this got me to wondering about something in Star Wars that I've never really seen an answer to. During the attack on the Death Star, when Red Leader says, "Stay there, I just lost my starboard engine" just before his fighter gets hit, did he lose the engine from a previous hit we didn't see? Or did he have some mechanical failure that just came at a really bad time?

There are other questions about scifi films that give me pause. So I've made a list of them and maybe you can help me come up with the answers.

My Top 10 SciFi Film Questions

1. During the attack on the Death Star, when Red Leader says, "Stay there, I just lost my starboard engine" just before his fighter gets hit, did he lose the engine from a previous hit we didn't see? Or did he have some mechanical failure that just came at a really bad time?

2. What makes grey aliens, with all their incredibly advanced technology, think that performing pointless experiments of the mad doctor variety on abductees (with no anesthesia, yet!), and then implanting random bits of metal, is anything like a good idea? Or even very advanced?

3. What makes Ming so Merciless?

4. Why do so many female crew members (and other random women) in scifi films and tv shows from the 1950s through the 1970s wear such impractical get-ups as miniskirts and/or halter tops?

5. Why do all Vulcan men have the exact same haircut?

6. How is cryogenically preserving someone's brain also supposed to preserve their personality/memories/thoughts, etc?

7. When computers/robots/machines succeed in taking over the world, why don't they ever do anything fun?

8. Why is the plot of Matrix Revolutions as full of holes as Trinity is?

9. Considering how often things go wrong with the simplest of devices, does anyone really think transporters that take you apart at the molecular level and put you together again are every really going to be effective enough for practical use?

10. What is that drippy stuff dripping down while Scully hides in the morgue at the military facility where they were storing the bodies of those gooey firefighters?

Any responses or explanations are welcome.

4 comments:

Shannon said...

Sci-Fi: Answered! by Shannon.
Because I am an expert.
1. It was a mechanical failure that came at a really bad time. Mostly, though, I think they were just trying to fill in spaces with technical-sounding dialogue and that's what they came up with.
2. Aliens enjoy experimenting, but when laws were passed on their various planets that experimentation of people and animals native to planet Them were passed, they moved on to experimenting on other planets' dwellers. The metal implants are tracking devices, like how we put collars on wild whales and lions and stuff.
3. I admit I don't know what you're talking about.
4. To draw in less-nerdy male viewers.
5. It's a dominant genetic trait.
6. Because the head-end of their spirit also got trapped in the cryogenic process. In X-Files it's more because they were twins.
7. They've been programmed to be boring. I'm inclined to mention some tie to Hitchhiker's Guide, but I can't think of anything.
8. Because that's the way it is.
9. This is why we implement the word "fiction" in the phrase "science fiction"
10. It's firefighter goo. Or else there's an cocoon opening somewhere in the corner. They didn't explain it because it was a different story line. I bet you didn't know weird X-Filey things happen 2 at a time on occasion.

eric and adrien said...

I don't have many answers because I think Shannon's are funny, but I do have a few. I wonder if the Wachowski brothers initially planned on making the Matrix into a trilogy. If not, I can see why the third one is so terrible. They probably made a solid first movie, a decent second movie, and then really wanted it to be a trilogy because honestly that's the best kind of story. And it failed. Badly.

As far as the robots not doing anything cool, I think it's because they were programmed to only do things like "help" people - so they only really know how to do things like vacuum floors and efficiently wipe out third-world countries. In their respective futures, these robots just decided they could do these things without people and they didn't want to be controlled anymore. So they destroy all the people/put them in little pods and make them think life is real. And then they go ahead and vacuum floors to their heart's content. To their...CPU's content?

I have a question though. Why is it that whenever (with the exception of Jurassic Park) people want to make a really good Michael Crichton novel into a movie, they come up with a terrible script and terrible acting? I don't get it.

Jared and Megan said...

I don't have all the answers... except 42. I'm just gonna answer a few.
3. Because "Merciless Ming" is catchy.
4. I think you know the answer to this one.
5. I agree with Shannon. It's genetic. Either it's genetically meant to grow that way, or Vulcans are genetically uninterested in getting a different kind of hairstyle.
6. Synapses? Or something?
7. Cause for some reason it is a truth universally acknowledged that a man/robot in possession of a large brain/CPU must be in want of a wild side.
8. Greed begets sloppiness.
9. Cause the alternative is just to freaky.

That's all I've got.

Jared and Megan said...

*too! not to!