Tag Archive: Avatar


IKAROS Solar Sail - JAXAThe idea of space exploration is nothing new. To people of my generation (gods! I sound like my grandmother!) it’s always been a given that someday people would be flying through space in huge metal cans discovering new planets and hopefully new civilizations.  To boldly go…..

For most geeks, space exploration is a staple part of our intellectual diet.

When we think about space travel,we think jet propulsion, fuel cells, dilithium crystals, antimatter engines, etc… All of these are essentially chemical reactions that creates thrust and pushes the space craft where the crew wanted it to go.

But did you know that there’s an alternative to sitting on top of a volatile mix of reactants that could blow you to kingdom-come should something go wrong?

It’s called the solar sail. A thin sheet of essentially plastic which harnesses solar wind to push it through space.

Okay, I can see you scowling from here. Solar Wind? The sun doesn’t produce wind!

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The first trailer for the latest installment of the Resident Evil franchise – Resident Evil: Afterlife  is out.

I find it interesting that their main promotional hook is that it’s filmed using the same fusion camera system that James Cameron used for Avatar. Are people really going to see this because the 3D is as good as Avatar?

Remember a few years ago, when Disney’s traditional animation house was closed because the big wigs decided they weren’t going to make hand drawn animated movies anymore. The reason given at the time was that computer generated movies were doing so well at the box office, Disney wanted to focus exclusively on getting that specific piece of the pie.  Then their computer animated flicks underperformed, because who needs great stories, intriguing dialogue, engrossing character development when a computer can bounce a ball across the screen? Then along comes John Lasseter as head of Disney Animation, he places the focus back on the story being told, not the means and BAM! The Princess and the Frog comes out, it’s a hit and classical animation is hot again.

I predict the same is going to happen with 3D and it’s going to start with Resident Evil: Afterlife. Not that I think this will be a bad film, especially not with Paul W.S. Anderson back behind the camera and adding Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller to the mix. And I don’t think a studio is going to pull a Disney and insist that every film be in 3D.

3D FilmsI do think we’re going to start to see more movies coming out in 3D for the sake of being in 3D. That’s going to result in a decline in the earnings of 3D films as every George, Peter and Stephen jumps onto the bandwagon. Movie makers are going to get lazy, and depend on 3D to bring in the bucks and forgetting that 3D is just a tool that is supposed to serve the story, not the other way around.  The novelty is going to wear off, and movie returns are going to suffer as a result.  Because of the decrease in audiences and revenue, the industry is going to start wringing its hands and wonder where it all went wrong.

Resident Evil: Afterlife opens on September 10th, 2010

Having a hard time distinguishing what brand of Geek Superfan you have in front of you?  Just consult this handy guide:

Who do you think should be added?  BSG and LoTR are definitely glaring omissions.  I would love to see Angel/Buffy on there too.  Any other suggestions?

From MadAtoms via Geek Tyrant (which I think is rapidly becoming a favorite site)

Oscar Wrap-up

So, who watched the Oscars last night?

To be honest, I didn’t, but I did follow the live updates at Entertainment Weekly (hey!  I’m a busy girl!).

BEST PICTURE

AvatarSo, the big win, Best Picture,  went to The Hurt Locker instead of Avatar.  I haven’t seen Locker yet, so I can’t say that  it deserved to win, but I do know that Avatar did not deserve the Best Picture award either.  (I’m sorry, can you gasp a little louder?)

As much as I loved Avatar, I don’t think it deserved to win Best Picture or Best Director.  Technically, it was a spot on movie.  You cannot fault the way this movie was made – Richard Taylor and James Cameron are GODS when it comes to pushing technology towards bigger and better things.  Avatar was an immersive experience that was not to be missed.

Take all that away however, take away the effects, take away the 3D, take away all the technology and what do you have left?  You have story, you have character, that’s it.  We’ve seen this story before, pretty much exactly as presented here, numerous times in the past.  We even saw it earlier in the year with District 9, although in that case the assimilation of the Van De Merwe was not by choice and it certainly wasn’t welcome.

As for character, they were retreads of all the old tropes we’ve seen time and time again.  The visionary scientist, the conflicted loner, the blood-thirsty soldier, the greedy corporate shill, the noble savage.  Yada yada yada. It would have been nice if Cameron had played with our expectations when it came to these people, brought us some fresh insight, but he didn’t. It was all very superficial and disappointing

Movie making needs to be about so much more than computer wizardry and big explosions.   Without character or story, a film is simply an experience.  It’s just an empty shell, and while people can and still do enjoy the big bangs – I know I do, there’s nothing wrong with that, at the end of the day, it’s still hollow.

I think any Best Picture winner should successfully marry both technology and narrative  while recognizing that the experience serves the story/character not the other way around.  If we work from that criteria, Avatar just didn’t deserve to win.

So, congratulations James Cameron on the technical awards, they were much deserved.  And for now, I’ll reserve judgement on The Hurt Locker winning Best Picture.

BEST DIRECTOR

The Hurt LockerThere was a lot of talk about Kathryn Bigelow being nominated for Best Director, how her win would be a historic step forward for women directors, blah, blah, blah…

And yes, all this is true, but did anyone notice that her film could best be described as a testosterone fueled joy ride?  In other words, a guy-flick?  Basically she proved that girls can blow things up as good as the big boys.  As I mentioned before, I haven’t seen the film yet, so it might be more character driven than I’m given to believe after seeing the trailers and reading the reviews.  And while I’m happy that Bigelow won, I’ll be happier when a woman director wins the prize for a film that has a decidedly feminine voice.  When women’s stories are seen as being as worthy of praise/awards/money as anything made by a man.  Actually, I’ll be truly happy when gender doesn’t enter into it.  All this brouhaha reminds me of a speech by Joss Whedon where he discusses why he writes strong women characters:  “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

See Joss’ beautiful speech here.

When women directors who win awards are no longer a novelty, then I’ll say that women have arrived in Hollywood.

Okay, on to the really important stuff…..

THE DRESSES

I swear, this is the real reason so many people tune in.

Here are my top three best dresses:

Molly Ringwall - 2010 Oscars Elizabeth Banks - 2010 Oscars Kristen Stewart - 2010 Oscars
This is my favorite dress of the night. The colour, the cut, the draping are all perfect.  And I love how Molly accessorized it.  Simple and elegant. This is how ruffles are meant to be worn. They accentuate the dress and the wearer’s shape instead of looking like they are trying to eat you. Wow!  Does Kristen Stewart ever clean up well.  Too bad no one’s taught her how to smile yet.

And here are my picks for Worst Dressed:

Nicole Richie - 2010 Oscars Sarah Jessica Parker - 2010 Oscars Zoe Saldana - 2010 Oscars
This is a dress a 80 year old matron would wear.  The colours are washed out, and there is simply too much dress for such a petite girl. I didn’t know they were still making yellow Hefty bags!  Truth be told, this dress would probably not be so bad if it was tailored a bit more, and was a
bolder colour.  And could someone please show SJP how to do her makeup?
I really wanted to love this dress.  I love the colours and it’s so sparkly, but I can’t get on board with a dress that looks like someone wrapped a dish towel around the waist and then glued bath poofs on the hem.

But you know what these Oscars are missing? A Bjork or a Tilda Swinton dress. I really look forward to some absolutely horrible outfit that really sets the tongues wagging. It didn’t happen this year and I miss it.

Bjork - 2001 OscarsTilda Swinton - 2008 Oscars

What do you think?