Also ... welcome to Superbowl Sunday!
Alas, our household is not much of a football fan, friends. Just never have been. Back in the day, I recall watching the game -- as do many -- more for the entertainment quality of the sport, but like so many organizations these days the NFL really thumbed its nose at America, its people, and our country's standing in the world-at-large ... and I'm just not a appreciative when institutions do that. Granted, I have learned to put aside my differences with the entertainment industry more often than not, but because I've never had that much interest in professional sports I find it harder to do in that marketplace. As a consequence, we don't tune in, and I don't feel I'm missing anything. Don't worry: I have plenty of folks who are happy to let me know otherwise in my life, so I take it all in style.
Otherwise, it's been a reasonably quiet weekend. Had a nice meal. Relaxed a little bit extra since it's been a tough week. And here we are.
Apologies for being away from the blog for a few days, but -- as I just mentioned -- I have had a few other activities that required a bit of attention. When life gets busy and my focus gets directed elsewhere, SciFiHistory.Net is the first thing that gets set aside -- it is what it is -- so please don't harbor any ill will regarding those circumstances. We all have things that push us in different directions from time-to-time, and that's really all this is. I have (still) a short stack of reviews I'm presently working on, and they'll definitely start to dribble into this space over the next few days.
What else do I have? Why, I'm glad you asked!
It's never easy to hammer a synopsis into perfect shape -- especially when an hour is crafted as grand as this one is -- but, basically, Commander Data has to face the greatest challenge to his existence when he's ruled 'property' of Starfleet and can be disassembled for further study. Essentially, this construct then gets played out in an actual courtroom, wherein Captain Jean-Luc Picard serves as the android's chief counsel in an attempt to obtain a ruling that'll both save one of his senior officers from the chopping block as well as set a legal precedent that will allow for research to continue. It's a fascinatingly human look into the soul of a robot, and that's something you don't get every day ... even in an intellectual property as wide and deep as is Trek.
This one isn't about phasers or space battles. There are some stirring speeches made by a few of the onscreen talent, and it's this kind of incisive commentary that Trek used to do best. Somehow, Paramount has lost sight of intelligent storytelling -- if Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds are any indication -- and fans don't get this kind of quality these days. Hopefully the franchise will find its way back home, but I'm not holding my breath for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I'm happy to watch this one on repeat. That's just how good it is.
Now, I realize that Planet may not exactly be everyone's cup o'tea when it comes to 1950's Science Fiction, but the motion picture deserves as much credit as it's received over the years. In point of fact, Fantastic Planet was the very first cinematic adventure that propelled audiences out there -- far beyond our star systems and into the great black depths of the galaxy -- instead of taking a jaunt to the moon or a nearby planet. In fact, it's been noted that even the late Gene Roddenberry drew inspiration from this voyage in creating his original 'wagon train to the stars' - Star Trek -- for broadcast television. Nielsen's no-nonsense commander may or may not have inspired James T. Kirk, but there are definitely some similarities for those of us watching closely.
While I think it's a shame that there never was any follow-up or sequel to Fantastic Planet, I still revere what the film both accomplished on its own as well as the road it paved for those who'd follow in its footsteps. Without it, cinematic outer space may not have been explored for years to come.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Nielsen ... wherever you may be ...
Naturally, folks, there's more. I've done my work with respect to February 11th, and there's a great number of flavor that makes genre experiences what it is, whether you're talking SciFi, Fantasy, or Horror. Don't take my word for it. Head on over to the Daily Citation Page and relish the glory that is All Things SciFi ...
As always, thank you for reading ... thank you (even more) for sharing ... thank you (even even more) for being a fan ... and live long and prosper!