The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai – 35th Anniversary

NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE!

In 1984, a film was released that was considered to be a flop at the time. It made very little at the box office, however, the film went on to become a cult classic. The reason for this is: nobody really knows exactly what the film is about. You can speculate; you can say what the story beats are,-you can even think that you know what the deeper meaning of the story is. The truth is- this is a film that is completely unique to everyone who watches it. It’s a film that could easily be dismissed as a cheesy product of the 1980’s. You would be so very wrong in your dismissal though. There is more to this film than it’s cheesiness- which there are moments of- there is no denying that. One of the biggest draws of the film is the fact that it dumps the audience into an existing universe and offers very little information about it up front. It tells the audience ‘this is the world, you’ll catch up.’ Treating the audience with respect, and treating them like the intelligent people that they are, was something that is very rare in film in general. It was especially rare in the early 1980’s.

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The Other Voices: Mary Queen of Scots

Many years ago, I did a heavy research dive into Mary Queen of Scots with an idea of trying to find a good story where I could make her a badass hero. It became clear pretty quickly that this was impossibly without a lot of bullshit. She just wasn’t a great role model. She was almost always on the run either literally or metaphorically, she was easily manipulated by men specifically, she was so obsessed with her lineage that she never put the right amount of energy into being a good leader in the job she already had, and she ended up dying when she wouldn’t stop obsessing about Elizabeth, who she never actually met in person. I decided there just wasn’t a story there – not with her as the protagonist.

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The Other Voices: Tigers Are Not Afraid

I think we can all agree that children shouldn’t have to be warriors. They should have homes and parents and food and time to play without worrying about survival. Unfortunately, not all children get to have that. Mexican director Issa Lopez’ 2017 dark fairy tale, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID, is the story of a group of orphans who have to wake up every day and fight the evil that grown-ups are too scared to face.

This is not some happy story of victory over evil. It’s about the cost we ask our children to pay when we don’t protect them, and I know I’ll be thinking about it for days. It may take place in Mexico, but we are not so removed from this world. We conduct active shooter drills in schools now. Police officers sometimes assault or kill black children instead of protecting them. Our loudest activists against gun violence have become teenagers. This is a burden they should not have to bear, but they do.

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Star Trek Picard: What Do We Know?

It’s still a couple of months away, but the hype for Star Trek: Picard is in full swing. At the 2019 Destination Star Trek, I was lucky enough to attend the Patrick Stewart talk and in that he discussed a few things to expect from the new series. For more on my experience at Destination Star Trek see my article here.

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The Other Voices: Us

Obviously there are a lot of horror movies out there that are just meant to be fun, low-budget schlockfests to give you a good scare before bedtime, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Jordan Peele, it’s that he’s not interested in any of that. If he’s going to scare us, it’s not going to be with a creepy monster – it’s going to be with the truth of our own society. And his latest, US, is certainly in line with that trend.

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Destination Star Trek: My Experience Going Premium

WAS IT WORTH IT?

Last year, I attended my first Star Trek convention in Birmingham and I had an amazing time. I met the stars who-until then-I had only seen through the glass barrier that we call television. They were all so friendly and at the end of the convention I knew that I was going back, but I had decided that I needed to see what the more premium tickets were like.

Originally, I was considering the Admiral pass which costs a pricey £3,000 (which according to Google is currently worth $3851.02). After some deliberation , a trip to Los Angeles and another one coming next year I decided on the lower priced Captain’s pass which was only £800 ($1026.80). Only £800 he says- but compared to £3,000 it’s a significant reduction. So, was it worth it? What benefits did I get for the premium price? Well luckily for you I can tell you without it costing you £800.

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The Other Voices: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

I was supposed to write this article three weeks ago, when it was still October, but I had decided in September that I could just work 30 straight 12+ hour days doing 3 jobs and it would be fine. I am no longer 20 years old. It was not fine. I had to push one week for work, but then the Saturday when everybody was getting ready to go to all the parties, I dropped on the couch and suddenly realized I had a 101 fever and I was going to miss Halloween this year. I had multiple illnesses and ended up lying in bed for days without the attention span to watch a whole movie in between naps. Moral of the story: Even if it IS the American way, don’t try to work yourself to death.

So I’ve been away, but I finally got around to watching Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2014 indie film, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT. Amirpour is Iranian-American, but she was born in England and moved her at a young age. She used film to relate to American culture, particularly loving the films of David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, Richard Linklater…. All the artsy guys. So it should surprise nobody that this film is hella-artsy.

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Stepping Through the Wormhole: 25 Years of Stargate: Part 4

REACHING OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE AND BACK – STARGATE UNIVERSE, STARGATE ORIGINS AND THE LEGACY

With the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis and the announcement that the new series of Stargate would be going after a younger, sexier demographic; Stargate Universe was already on a back foot before a single scene had been shot. The loyal audience of Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis felt ostracized by the producers of Stargate Universe with the announcement. It didn’t help that they also decided to take the series in a darker direction, capitalizing on the success of the recent Battlestar Galactica remake which was getting high critical acclaim. Because they copied the grittier tone of Battlestar Galactica, the sense of humor was almost entirely stripped away from the series- this left the fans feeling like it wasn’t a Stargate series at all. Add to it that most of the characters in the series were seen as bland or downright unlikable, there was this feeling of disassociation from the brand that turned off many Stargate fans away from the series. The series also took too long to find its direction- many of the early episodes felt like their hook was literally just about what resource they needed to replenish this week.

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Stepping Through the Wormhole: 25 Years of Stargate: Part 3

EXPLORING OTHER GALAXIES – STARGATE ATLANTIS

With the success of Stargate SG1 the producers started to think of ideas on how to expand the Stargate universe. They started coming up with several different ideas on how to continue the franchise. The initial idea was that SG1 would end and the spin off would pick up where it left off. The SGC would have relocated to an ancient base under Antarctica and the series would have taken place in our galaxy still. When they realized that there was no way they were going to be able to wait for SG1 to finish because it kept getting renewed, they decided to run both series concurrently and move the Atlantis series to another galaxy.

Moving the series to the Pegasus Galaxy freed the producers and writers up to tell different stories and introduce new and different races and cultures that were not bound by the canon that SG1 had established. It also meant that they needed to establish a new antagonist species to the series. They didn’t want to re-tread old ground on the type of enemy they had for Atlantis– they wanted something different from the Goa’uld. The Wraith were the result. Vampiric in nature, the Wraith feed upon human beings- draining their life energy and absorbing it into themselves. This makes them incredibly resilient to damage and allows them to heal quickly (especially if they have just recently fed). It was decided that the Wraith would have a matriarchal society with Queens being the top of the chain, much like bees. They took a lot from the hierarchy of bees in designing the Wraith.

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The Other Voices: The Babadook

I had no idea what THE BABADOOK would be about when I put it on. The impression I had from the Internet was that it was about a gay dinner guest in a jaunty hat. This was definitely a film where that lack of knowledge was helpful in making me very scared.

THE BABADOOK, an Australian film by Jennifer Kent, is about grief. It’s pretty easy to suss that out, which I like, because I can get really annoyed at films that have this allegory so complex that you need a PhD in Pre-post-colonial literature (an actual class I took in grad school) in order to understand them. Yes, I have a graduate degree in English. I have studied literature. I have been an academic. And I really hate having to use my degree to understand shit. Make your story deep and beautiful and artsy, sure, but make sure that at the end of the day, I can see what the central argument or point of the film actually is. Otherwise, what are we doing here.

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