The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Sci-Fi nom noms to tickle the taste buds, bust the gut and confound the lower intestine

sleeper-instant-mix

“My God! I beat a man insensible with a strawberry” – Miles Monroe. 

Whilst researching and blogging about food and nutrition matters, and wondering how and when this next Post can ever emerge, by following that age-old tradition of doin’-everythin’-at-once, it was thought best to combine the two objectives and explore the culinary delights that can be savoured in the realms of sci-fi. So, let’s get stuck in, shall we?

Everyone has to eat – even the aliens. Not that we should eat the aliens, but watch out, to them we might be the tastiest looking delicacy on this side of the Outer Rim territories. What tasty morsels can we look forward to? Well, by some odd happenstance, foodstuffs – even the necessary act of eating – are hard to come by in this particular genre. Why should this be?

As an essential part of life, food should be a defining element of science fiction, but after close inspection, there are a relatively few instances to select from. Come! On! Where is deep fat when you need it?

“No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?” 

“Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.”

“Incredible.”  

alien-mealtime

“Hot dog? There’s no dog in this… Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soybean meal, niacin, dextrose, and sodium nitrate flavouring” – Nestor 1.  

Gotta get me some galactic goodies before navigating the Nebula. Yet it seems that for all the wild and wonderful exploits in outer space, from defying the evil empire, guarding the galaxy, getting lost in the Mutara Nebula, even making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, calls for some top nosh, but where is it?! Maybe that’s why there is so much aggro in outer space, because protagonists can only dream of partaking a hearty meal, and it’s doing their head in. As well as their stomachs…  

When the crew of the Nostromo celebrated Kane’s recovery with a slap-up meal – culminating in one of SF’s most memorable moments – we still didn’t get to see what their spread consisted of. Even in the sequel when the marines emerge from cryo-sleep, all they seemed to dine on was cornbread. Not even Ripley liked that; no wonder they got wiped out – insufficient protein is no excuse for anyone. Well, if you thought the cornbread was bad…

In keeping with their war-like tendencies, what do Klingons eat? Their signature dish has the mouthwatering name of “Gagh,” which just happens to be a plate of worms of course. A dish that is best served cold, presumably? 

Today’s Menu:

Blade-Runner-noodles

rest-at-end-of-universestar-trek-food

shawarma-avengers

Waiter: “Would you like to see the menu? Or would you like to meet the Dish of the Day?”

Zaphod Beeblebrox: “That’s cool. We’ll meet the meat.”   

The astronauts of the Discovery: Bowman and Poole are sampling a tray of colourful but bland gunk; in rainswept Los Angeles, Rick Deckard (ex-Blade Runner/ex-cop) only wanted to have noodles; in The Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky shovells out a can of Dinki-Di dog food. Grief, best not to dwell on those post-apocalyptic days… Yes, but amidst the battles to control water, or petrol, how and from where are all those shoulder-padded loons of the near-future going to get their munchies? And let’s not mention what’s being consumed in Soylent Green.

At least after all he went through, Tony Stark of the Avengers knows a shawarma joint “about two blocks from here.” Not sure what was more spectacular: the team taking out that huge Chitauri millipede thing… or the fact that Stark didn’t even know what shawarma is and wanted to try it?!

Is that it? Let me know if there have been any delectable delicacies excluded from this Post.

Right, that’s it, then: the next sci-fi project to be developed by this writer –  whatever part of the galaxy they end up in, whatever tight spots they get stuck in – most of my characters will (have to) be crazy about Mexican, Thai or Japanese food. And they will stop at nothing to acquire it in it’s natural form, as delicious as poss. Why should that have to sound like such a groundbreaking plot device? 

And then they can wash everything down with a mind-pummeling pint of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, which as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (whose second course is entitled: The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe) quaintly puts it: “…the effect of which is like having your brain smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.” 

2001-mealtime

recipes

Enjoy your meal!

Dabbling In The Dark Side: The Bane of Brother BradFail

There is a fascinating world inside your head waiting to be discovered, but don’t stray from the path…

kylo ren

“Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for” – Ray Bradbury. 

By all that’s sacred! How is this possible?!

For those of you wondering how my Posts get to be so awesome, spare a thought then – by gad! let the shocking truth shine forth here – my fiction (scripts, novels and short stories) has really stalled these past few weeks, despite sporadic sessions of fruitless keyboard pummeling.My cognitive faculties have worked wonders with my blogs, but the other stuff? Just one resounding meh…

Concentrating on any writing project during this time – other than these blogs – has proved to be such a chore. Fortuitously, you will be spared the personal gripes of a forlorn Freelancer – thankfully, this is not that kind of blog, but at least my overworked and under-appreciated noddle has been spared the full brunt of despair… for now.

Yet there must be an easy way out – and still have your limbs, bank balance and sanity intact, but by what desperate-bordering-on-devilish means can this be achieved…

…without succumbing to your own Dark Side? 

images

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls” – Carl Gustav Jung.

Of course, the most prevalent view of a “dark side” is synonymous with the Force, that “moral, philosophical, metaphorical and psychic concept” from the Star Wars Universe. 

Carl Jung analysed this “part of us we like to keep hidden from public view,” only back then (c. 1907) he referred to it as “the shadow self” – that deep and dormant part of our personality wherein lie all our negative and destructive emotions. So, does my shadow self produce better fiction?

While languishing in the shadows of the blogosphere, let me assure you that there will be NO resort to evil ways to achieve greater success. Some comfort can be gleaned from the fact that now – more than ever – there is nothing like science fiction to confront and help ease the pressures of modern life.

Our favourite genre has sought to conquer our fears, and dared to tackle those terribly vexing existential questions that have stumped humankind for aeons such as: why are we here? Are we alone in the universe? Are we humans or replicants? What would our alternate self be doing in a parallel dimension? If you unscrew your navel will your bum fall off?  

Id-monster

“My evil self is at that door, and I have no power to stop it!” – Dr. Edward Morbius.

Within the elementary basis of the subconscious mind resides the “Id” – a concept first explored by Sigmund Freud in: “The Ego and the Id,” originally published in 1927. He described it as “the unevolved instinctive part of our brain, responsible for the urges and desires we try to repress.” 

In Forbidden Planet (1956), this theme was explored to (then) spectacular Technicolor glory. On Altair IV, Dr Edward Morbius was terrorised by a frightening yet imperceptible entity, which (spoiler ahoy!) just happened to be the manifestation of anxieties from his own subconscious.

Fortunately, my frightful inner daemons have been ably suppressed… until now, at least. Get thee gone, Darth Plagiarism!

At the moment, spending my days wandering and meditating in a hooded habit, when not blogging – writing is a lone (not lonely) profession/pursuit. Quitting has never been an option – ha! don’t even know the meaning of the word – and, rest assured, Brad ain’t gonna start now! Bravado, Resilience, Aptitude, Determination – hell, that’s what Brad stands for!

photo1193

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill. 

Aah… what a marvelous sunrise! Sit back. Relax! Deep breaths… It is this kind of serene vista (photo taken yards from my home sweet home) – which helps soothe the soul, but gazing longingly at it won’t get my work done! Over the course of the next few Posts, you might get to see some of my attempts at fiction, but there will be insights into crafting cool dialogue, and character development – watch this space!

Cinematic SF generally may seem to be locked in a downward spiral, beset with turgid maze-running and snow-piercing, and addled with drab Divergent-this and Insurgent-that. Having toiled and tussled in trying to develop difficult scripts, it’s easy to see how a lot of modern scripts just don’t work, but it is still annoying to think that my writing/editing services are NEVER called upon.

For the moment, this writer will carry on to the best of his abilities… within legal parameters of course. Whilst endeavouring to resist the temptation to traipse down the dark path, an article in one writing magazine recently discussed how evil is a matter of perspective, and it would bode well for any writer to embrace their dark side (once in a while). 

Who knows? Maybe it’s a wonderland teeming with free nachos and choc-chip cookies…

Perhaps my bland brown habit should be ditched in favour of a dynamic black robe…

“Evil is intriguing,” the article exclaimed. “Evil is good.”

Hmmm…

BradFail

darkside

Cheers!

Me, Myself And ILM: Childhood Films Blogathon

The Adventures of One Cinema-Crazy Infant

The awesome movie poster that sagged on my bedroom wall for nearly twenty years
The awesome movie poster that sagged on my bedroom wall for nearly twenty years

“You and I were really lucky to have so many good movies to go and watch” – Gordon Bradford.

The Childhood Films Blogathon, organized by the wonderful Caz over at letsgotothemovies provides this golden opportunity to reminisce about my earliest trips to the cinema.

Not like Brad to brag, but my initial ventures to the popcorn parlour (always taken by my father on Saturday afternoons) happened to happily coincide with one of the most genuinely creative times in sci-fi/fantasy movie-making. It was fuelled largely by the rise of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), the effects group commandeered by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as they dominated the early ’80s box office.

Honorary mention goes to the Odeon Cinema – the one opposite the beach – where the box office was accessible by a legendary escalator (long since removed, alas) which – to my juvenile delight – was not only an exciting ride, but a most stupendous moving portal to a well-wicked world of widescreen wonder.

empire

“Come on Chewie, let’s check it out” – Han Solo. 

1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The world changed in May 1980 when Brad was, oh, about that high. The positively seismic upheaval that was the Release of the Sequel to Star Wars caused each and every sprog under the age of 12 (mostly with reluctant parent/guardian in tow) to converge on their nearest popcorn parlour.

Lee was in my class at school – a short, chubby, freckled, ginger-haired kid. i.e. pure bully-bait, so we offered him a chance to come to the Odeon with us. Probably a life-changing event for him, we hoped; certainly was for yours truly!

There is nothing as formidable as an infant with an insatiable Hoth-fix. So, soon after – probably the following weekend – we rounded up Ant: my fellow pint-sized perisher and a kid after my own bubblegum cards, and headed off into town again. We got to the Odeon only to discover that EVERY seat had been booked…

Bigger, bolder and arguably better than what had come three years before, The Empire Strikes Back was a phenomenon. You do realize of course that it is not only the greatest SF blockbuster ever made, but the only one in which the good guys lose… 

Extraordinary… in so many awesome ways. And it always will be. 

3 OUT OF 5: Oh, good lord, no! That’s not the star-rating, but the number of times we managed to see the movie. The other two trips were thwarted by a Full House sign (do they still have those?).

bh8

“I don’t mean to sound superior, but I hate the company of robots” – V.I.N.CENT.

2. The Black Hole (1979)

My next best magical experience at the cinema.

Disney’s initial step onto the Star Wars bandwagon was a surprisingly dark and sinister piece. The effects (some truly awe-inspiring matte paintings on show) looked spectacular in widescreen – especially the meteorite shower, the “lost” ship: the USS Cygnus and the black hole itself.

Having an army of droids on your ship seemed like the coolest thing, so naturally, the laser gunfights looked simply amazing. The USS Palomino’s resident robot: V.I.N.CENT (voiced by Roddy McDowall) was one of my very first favourite characters in SF movies, and his nemesis: the big menacing red robot: Maximillian, was always one of Dad’s faves.

The whole viewing pleasure was seriously enhanced by John Barry’s stunning score – it still gives me the shivers, what… 36 years later?! Good gravy, how time passes…

dragonslayer-still

“…If it weren’t for sorcerors, there wouldn’t be any dragons. Once, the skies were dotted with them” – Ulrich. 

3. Dragonslayer (1981)

Another fantastic Disney movie that didn’t involve cartoons or high-pitched singing. This dark and bewitching fantasy told how a lottery chose virgins to be sacrificed to prevent the local dragon from laying waste to the huddled villages of the dank and murky kingdom – that’s right: this wasn’t exactly Cinderella

Galen Bradwarden, the young wizard’s apprentice must confront the beast (of course he succeeds – hey, his name’s Brad!).

Behold: the astonishing ILM SFX master-class that was the dragon itself: VERMITHRAX PEJORATIVE. There, only Caps Lock does it justice.  They don’t make dragons like that anymore! You can gush about Smaug from The Hobbit all you like (it’s just CGI after all), but ol’ Vermy was the spikey flame-thrower that made me gawp the most.

Dragonslayer still stands up quite well today; a shame it has slipped into the “forgotten gem” category.

Flash-Gordon-flash-gordon-23432251-1019-998

“I’m not your enemy! Ming is! Let’s all team up an’ fight ‘im” – Flash. 

4. Flash Gordon (1980)

In my book, sci-fi heroes didn’t get any BIGGER than Flash Gordon. Gorged myself on Weetabix cereal every morning in order to collect all 18 Flash Gordon movie cards.

Much-praised and much-maligned in equal measure, it is best to regard this notorious Dino De Laurentiis production as a 90-minute Queen music video. The visual effects, the spaceships, the costumes(!), the set design were all very special. For me, Max Von Sydow as Ming The Merciless, Ruler of The Universe was one of the Best Villains. Ever. 

How can anyone deride this movie?

The Hawkmen attack on War Rocket Ajax with the accompaniment of Brian May’s stirring guitar strains is enough to excite any infant – actually, this classic scene alone should be used to train the new generation of would-be film directors.

Thirty decades later, my generation are still quoting from this movie – a veritable sign of greatness if ever there was one.

GeneralZodForPresident20084

“Think of it: three super-villains! …Or four if you count him twice” – Lex Luthor. 

5. Superman II (1980)

A huge fan of Superman comics, to watch him on the big screen seemed too good to be true. The first film seemed too weak; it could – and should – have featured a costumed super-villain. Superman II seemed to respond to that criticism by featuring a dastardly trio from Kal-El’s homeworld of Krypton. 

The action and effects were pretty good, but it was John Williams’ sensational score that really enhanced it’s blockbuster status. Terence Stamp owned the screen as the evil General Zod. For this comicbook aficionado, this was my first enjoyable superhero movie.

Well, that’s it, and – oh, grief, we’ve reached that stage…

Squeal Before Zod!
Squeal Before Zod!

The Triumvirate of ToshTerror!

Ho-hum, here we go…

For every great smash hit at the cinema, there is a dud… or three – those movies you wanted to watch, were fantastic to sit through at the time, but have simply failed to follow you through that frightful armpit-hair-growing-stage of your life.

For me, these three movies appeared to be classics in the making, but now just make me CRINGE.

(Okay then, let’s get it over with…)

indiana-jones-and-the-temple-of-doom-screenshot

3. Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom (1984)

How – on Earth – Raiders of the Lost Ark slipped past my radar back in 1981 will remain one of Life’s Great Mysteries. Got really excited upon first learning about Temple of Doom, but had no idea that it was actually a sequel. Rented Raiders out on video and LOVED IT. Still do, of course. So, even more so, big things were expected here.

Thrilled to the spectacle @ the Obi Wan Club, jumping out of a plane on a dinghy (another unfulfilled ambition), the mine-cart chase, the tense rope-bridge sequence – yes, it was great, at the time…

…but watching on the telly a few years later, it felt insufferable, shambolic even. That Om Namha Shivaye Om Namha Shivaye business is way too freaky; and the chilled monkey brains banquet? Screaming Willie? And Short Round? No thanks… 

In order to get the Temple of Doom poster, you had to send off ten empty potato chip packets “to this address.” 

Don’t ask…

condorman-1264902641

2. Condorman (1981)

This “adventure” movie (from Disney again(!) but at least it wasn’t dark) had such good car and speedboat chases, but really…

Condorman could only ever be “appreciated” by those whose age consists of a single digit. The main character was NOT based on a real comicbook; Michael Crawford – then a TV sitcom star – was monumentally miscast; Oliver Reed spent much of the time bellowing his once-promising movie career away; and the poster came saddled with a tagline reading: “He Spies! He Flies! He Death-Defies!”

Don’t ask…

buck-rogers--126951933036627800

1. Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (1981)

HRH Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981. ALL schools were closed so EVERYBODY could watch it on television, simultaneously broadcast on ALL three(!) channels. Dad was seriously dischuffed by this.

The Odeon was showing Buck Rogers just on that one day only, for those suffering from royal nuptials fatigue. Knowing how an episode of the Buck Rogers TV series was never missed in the Brad household, before you can say: “beedeebeedeebeedee” away we went. But as any bright, fresh-faced moppet of that age could tell you: this was not – by any means – in the same league as Star Wars… or The Black Hole for that matter.    

Problem is: Gil Gerard was the worst possible choice to play the lead; it was as camp as a row of tents; the sfx were hand-me-downs from Battlestar Galactica; there was an almighty embarrassing dance scene and that surfeit of spandex did irreparable damage to my central nervous system.

Again, don’t ask…

The Odeon Cinema: A Temple For Infants. Photo taken in 1973. (Note the escalator.)
The Odeon Cinema: A Temple For Infants. Photo taken in 1973. (Note the escalator.)

childhood-blogathon

Happy Days!

comments

A Fistful Of Awards: 5 Facts About Brad, Plus My 15 Nominees!

Thank You To Danica @ Living A Beautiful Life For Nominating Me For The Creative Blogger Award

brad-lichtencreative-blogger-award

“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour” – William Cowper. 

First and foremost, my sincerest apologies for not responding to all these lovely Nominations sooner!

After picking up my first Liebster Award in February, there is now not only a second, but a Versatile Blogger and now this Creative Blogger Award!

It really is FANTASTIC that you should take the time and effort to nominate me for these awards – my gratitude is bountiful and as boundless as the guaranteed awesomeness yet to come!

Huzzah!

forcefield

Here are the requirements for the The Creative Blogger Award:

  • Post the award on your site
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Share 5 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 15 blogs
  • Link to your nominee’s site

apes-council

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please” – Mark Twain. 

Here are those 5 facts about myself:

democracy monument

1. Spent my entire working life in Southeast Asia, and it was all because of that car chase in downtown Bangkok from The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). Managed to find an apartment close to the office just up the road from Ratchadamnoen Avenue where that sequence was filmed! (hashtag: chuffed to bits).

Back in 2001, as a temple-junkie, unbeknownst to me, a three month backpacking trip changed my life so much for the better – found a beautiful wife, a good home, hot climate and personal happiness out there – things somehow unobtainable in the land of my birth…

Duel-1971-1

2. Don’t drive.

Witnessed two horrific car accidents when aged 6 & 10 respectively. My myopia doesn’t help. On top of all that, my first driving lesson turned out to be a reenactment of Duel (1971). Regrettably, the bounder in the big rig didn’t disappear over a cliff; the police never did catch him…

land12

3. Apart from my forays into blogging, journalism, copywriting, fiction and transdimensional engineering, somehow, somewhere, movie scripts were drafted.

Who knows: my notorious Ghost Rider draft could have worked wonders… if someone noticed. There were some killer lines of dialogue! (Perhaps they should be published here some time? Hey, sounds kinda cool – preferable to letting them languish in dust and obscurity. Will go and fish them out…)

My most ambitious project was (tentatively-titled): “The Planet That Time Forgot” – a Discovery vessel stumbles onto an Earth-like planet (positively teeming with them in SF, you know) but has developed only as far as the Mesozoic Era. Carnivores start picking members of the crew off one-by-one but the survivors are saved by a mysterious humanoid reptilian warrior called Szythkk. 

Yeah, yeah, it sounds daft now, but at least my heroine isn’t storming through a jungle in stilletos! (Don’t think we’ll ever get over that, will we?)

how-to-draw-comics-marvel-way

4. Some say my artwork is awesome. Mainly concentrated on superheroines and badass aliens (all visual concepts for my fictional characters, you see) during my teenage years.

Unfortunately, not too much of it has been done, lately; plus, some of my outstanding pieces just don’t load up so well online (pencil sketches come out too faint) – hence the lateness of this Post: soz), but maybe – ‘cos technology will never get the best of me – a solution will be sought soon, just maybe…

malcolm

5. I’m not as stupid as I look…

steve-zissou

“Being nominated is the win. For me, being nominated is winning. It’s just unbelievable” – Martha Plimpton.  

As if the suspense wasn’t too much already. Let me pause and take this opportunity to say that it’s been an absolute joy catching up with your Posts. The Blogosphere seemed like such a daunting place at first before the plunge was taken, and yet two exhilarating years later and it’s been a blast! Hasn’t it? 

Here are my nominations for the Creative Blogger Award:

boxofficebuzz

Cinema Parrot Disco

Doorway Between Worlds

Film Grimoire

Girl That Loved To Review

iblogthisnthat

letsgotothemovies

Parlor of Horror

Precinct 1313

Science Fiction Ruminations

Sidekick Reviews

The Telltale Mind

Three Rows Back

Vinnieh

Words For Everything

And finally…

Thank You To Ashley @ boxofficebuzz For Nominating Me For The Versatile Blogger Award 

Thank You To Sherise @ Girl That Loved To Review For Nominating Me For (my second) Liebster Award

My Trophy Cabinet: 

the-creative-blogger-awardvers-blogger-award

LiebsterAwardLiebsterAward

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars and see for yourself running with them”

– Marcus Aurelius. 

Cheers!

Anty Matter: Can Marvel’s Latest Blockbuster Succeed?

Little Big Man. Heroes Don’t Get Any Bigger? 

ant-man-marvel-movie

“The thing about Ant-Man: it’s different. There’s never been a superhero like that. These days, if you can come up with something that’s different and unique, and then do it well, which is the only way Marvel would do anything, you’ve got a great shot at getting a hit” – Stan Lee.  

Will the latest offering from the mighty Marvel Studios: Ant-Man – which opens internationally this Friday – be worth the ticket price? It seems that the last entry in Phase 2 of Marvel Studios’ grand cinematic strategy will star their smallest character in possibly their biggest gamble. 

As a keen follower of this hero back in the day, his sheer outlandishness was an intriguing plus, yet it is the one off-putting factor that has consigned Ant-Man to the lower confines of the Marvel canon, and has taken this long to get his own motion picture at all. 

This is a pity for the character of Ant-Man/Dr. Hank Pym, created in 1962 by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, holds a special place in the Marvel lexicon. The scientist originally responsible for inventing – and first wearing -the amazing ant-suit, was one of the co-founders of the Avengers – extraordinary to think that he did not feature in either Avengers movie; he was also responsible for creating Ultron, not Tony Stark as Marvel’s last blockbuster erroneously portrayed.

Only now do the powers-that-be at Marvel believe that the level of special visual effects has reached a standard sufficient enough to create the story of a man who can shrink to ant-size and command armies of soldier ants through special receivers in a specially designed helmet.

How, on Earth, do you pitch something like that?!

Screen-Shot-Ant-Man 

“I think our first move should be calling the Avengers” – Scott Lang.  

After both powerhouses of Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys  failed to give me much satisfaction, Ant-Man looks far from revitalising my rapidly diminishing faith in the current spate of blockbuster movie-making. Just look at the pile of minus factors going against it. Apart from the aforementioned obscurity of the character, how significant will the late departure of original writer and director: Edgar Wright have on the fortunes of this film?

And as for the casting, well…! Michael Douglas?! As Hank?! How is that possible? What about Paul Rudd as Scott Lang? He is ideal for making entertaining lunacy like Anchorman, but judging from those (bland) trailers, he looks to be mismatched with this material. But then again: ask me who would make a better Ant-Man, and that would be a toughie. 

Both trailers seen so far hardly worked up any enthusiasm for the subject-matter. Rather than instill any sense of ant-icipation, this lacklustre fare is generating nothing but ant-ipathy…  

Perhaps more than any other Marvel character, this peculiar material has a particularly tough task in trying to translate to the big screen. Can it be done?  

Alan Mooreliving legend among comic book writers – stipulated that none of his work should be developed into movies. In one interview, when asked how he would adapt his own outstanding classic: Watchmen – voted as one of the greatest novels of all time – into a movie, he just replied without hesitation: “I wouldn’t.”

antman-poster

“This is not some cute tech like the Iron Man suit!” – Dr. Hank Pym. 

So what compelled me towards Ant-Man as a comic character worth reading? This is some question, considering that the similar, yet vastly more popular, Spider-Man never appealed to me. There was something really cool about Ant-Man’s helmet, whereas nothing amazing was to be had from Spidey’s curiously red and blue costume.

Ant-Man did not have his own series during my comic-collecting days, but would guest star in other titles. Unfortunately, none of those strips were kept for long, so it is difficult to recall which issues did grace my stash of comics, yet there was a single page which – after three decades – still remains crystal clear in my mind’s eye.

Lo and behold, an online search (for other comic art, incidentally) suddenly brought it up, and all the fond memories associated with this masterpiece (by the incomparable John Byrne; who else?) came flooding back.

For those of you taking notes, this is page 15 of Marvel Premiere #47 from 1979.

197904 Marvel Premiere 47 p15 John Byrne

“You think you can stop the future? You’re just a thief!” – Yellowjacket. 

Considering how we were subjected to an Amazing Spider-Man reboot even before the dust had been allowed to settle on Spider-Man 3, it is reassuring to learn that Marvel Studios is ready to tap into Marvel Comics’ rich and diverse pool of several thousand characters

Ant-Man  may not reach the same heights of last Summer’s deliriously fun smash: Guardians of the Galaxy, but at least it continues Marvel’s bold and warmly welcomed ploy of unleashing lesser-known characters upon a cinema-going public suffering from remake and sequel fatigue.

Some comics were never meant to be filmed, and should have stayed on the printed page – some may argue that Ant-Man is one of them – but let’s hope that the time and effort put into this movie will pay off.

Anyway, it can’t be as awful as Punisher: War Zone… can it? 

Ant-Man-Marvel-Comics-Lineup

“This ‘dorky looking helmet’ is the only thing that’s going to protect me from the real bad guys!” – Magneto.

comments

Cheers!

“Give Me Genisys!”: Or Is This A Case Of Ever Decreasing Sequels?

He Said He’d Be Back…

terminator-genisys-wallpaper

“It’s wild… it’s just amazing what they’ve accomplished with the visual effects and then to see yourself the way you were, it’s really fantastic. They’ve imitated exactly the motions and the fights, the way I walked. All this can now be duplicated exactly the same way…” – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The hardest thing is deciding what to tell you and what not to.

Should this Post tell you that this sequel turns out to be nothing special, barely more agreeable than the last two misguided efforts? That’s a tough one. Will it change your decision to venture to the cinema… knowing? And to think “they” plan to make two more sequels – as part of an intended trilogy – which may be of rapidly decreasing quality?!

God, you can go crazy thinking about all this…

Sure, you can’t deny it’s fantastic to see Arnold Schwarzenegger, back reprising his most iconic role, but it seems that Terminator Genisys has seriously let him down. Originally undecided as to whether to watch this, in the end, what pulled me in was the prospect of a clash between old (not obsolete) “Pops” versus the T-800 from the original movie.

If there is one golden rule in the torturous world of film criticism, then avoid movies that deliberately misspell any part of the title in some lameass ploy to sound cool. Sure enough, this misfire seems to be no exception…

TERMINATOR GENISYS

sarah-T800

“It was one of those: ‘Let’s give it a round of applause’ moments. I mean, Arnie said that line to me, in a helicopter… if that’s not career defining, I don’t know what is” – Emilia Clarke.

So, what good points can we take from this movie?

Emilia Clarke puts in a good, gutsy turn as a decidedly different 80’s girl who can balance her checkbook. There is such a charming subplot about how the “Guardian” came to protect the nine-year-old Sarah Connor lurking somewhere in that script; development of this angle would have added such sorely-needed emotional depth to proceedings, but – typical – we got no more than the briefest of hazy flashbacks.

What about this Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney)? Sent back to a 1984 none of us expected, then – before you can say “mimetic polyalloy” – he has to hurl back to the strange and disconcerting “future” of 2017! Jeez, poor boy. A tad too much tampering with the temporals for my liking. How much more of the space-time continuum can they screw up? 

It was intriguing to see J.K. Simmons involved in this; however, after an astonishing (well-deserved) Oscar-winning performance in Whiplash, he is wasted here, with nothing significant to contribute.

And as for John Connor (Jason Clarke), well, how they’ve handled him this time round is just… wrong. Didn’t like it at all. What can one say – what can one do – when the smartest aspect of the whole movie is having both Connors played by two Clarkes? 

Terminator Genisys is watchable – notably less painful than the last two; but it could – certainly should – have offered so much more. Towards the end, one dissatisfied viewer was seen marching for the Exit, presumably seeking to keep intact the timeline he knew and loved. Sarah Connor herself at one point summed up this whole fruitless exercise rather well: “I know it needs work…” 

Liquid-Metal-Terminator-Genisys

“They’ve reimagined it. They’ve upgraded it. It’s left me in a state of paralisys. It’s crushing every brain synapsys. This is a personal crisys and I may need analisys… Terminator Genisys is the antythisys of enjoyable” – Peter Bradshaw.

Hey, buddy, did you just see a real bright light?

Riding a wave of nostalgia has done wonders these past two months for other fondly treasured franchises such as Mad Max and Jurassic Park, but does it – should it – work for The Terminator? Reshooting the sequence in which the original T-800 arrives at Griffith Park Observatory in LA, was actually quite a nifty move, and the twist was kinda cool – yet if they’re going to digitally recreate 1984 Arnie, then it’s only fair that 1984 Bill Paxton should reappear as well.

The general consensus of reviews basically dismissed Genisys as “witless,” “artless,” thus a pointless exercise. A major factor in the success of those first two movies was the abundance of cool and quotable lines, but here – and you know how much Brad digs groovy quotes – there are no lines worthy of note. Also, there are a few attempts at humour, but they fail miserably. The whole package does look hastily and shoddily assembled, as if by machines (ha!) – the 600 series, most likely (we spotted them easy.)

…And James Cameron himself personally endorsed this? 

If you need me, you can find me drowning my sorrows down at Tech Noir. (You know it, it’s on Pico.)

epcjckx9aql6darbtjvv

Cheese!