Ah ... it's a great day to be a genre fan!
Alas, there's not an awful lot of whatnot to report from the SciFiHistory.Net desk this morning, but because I was up and working on the site I thought I'd throw up (ooh, bad choice of words) a quick Daily Announcement post. I've heard from a good handful of you how much you like them, and what can I say? I do aim to please. Occasionally, any way. But I did try and commit to putting up at least a single post every day earlier this year ... well, actually what I had intended to do what get a certain number of words daily added to this space, so it kinda/sorta boils down to about the same metrics. Anyone who is still a serious blogger will tell you that Original Content is still the king, and they only way I can do that -- what with my site's design and all -- is to add a post or two to the MainPage (i.e. the section you're reading from right now) -- so that's really all this is.
Consider that a little "inside baseball" for those of you paying close attention.
Otherwise, I do have a few flicks on tap that I'm meaning to get through this weekend. I have an Apocalypse comedy with a review due early next week, so I'm hoping to watch that tomorrow, and I've also a small stack of new releases from a distributor that were mailed to me just this week. That's gonna be a pretty big investment of time, so watch for new reviews on some older films real soon. But this is also my week of heavy volunteer work (there's a speech and debate meet coming next weekend), and that's going to keep me away from the site a considerable amount of hours in the next seven days. Consider yourselves warned.
And, yet, here we are this morning, when all that really matters are the fine points involving November 4th? Is there anything super-special, you ask? Grand Master E., can you give us some of the best reasons to celebrate genre properties on this day? Why, yes, I can!
anniversary: "They Live" (1988)
John Carpenter's They Live -- which released originally on this day all the way back in 1988 -- is a film that I don't love in the same way so many Science Fiction and Fantasy fans do. I L-I-K-E it. I don't love it. It's one of those films whose ideas are greater than the sum of its parts -- in, yes, my humble estimation -- and it's backed up by a few solid performances and an interesting plot. For me, it just kinda/sorta really goes nowhere -- at least, not nearly as deep into the foundation of the subversiveness -- so I'm left with a whole lot of questions once it's over, and that's never a good thing.
However, I can certainly understand why it's message of social manipulation by an unseen force -- well, unseen without the glasses, that is -- resonates so strongly with so many. I think there are a good many of us who believe that private players have been engaging in such nefarious behaviors for a very, very, very long time; and the Carpenter vehicle used the SciFi construct fairly wisely to pull back the layers, suggesting these hidden messages were the guilty culprit behind so much of what goes wrong in our day-to-day existence. So, yes, it's definitely a meaty idea ... I just felt there was a helluva lotta room to go deeper.
I will say this: They Live is exactly the kind of property I'd love to see revisited -- not so much rebooted, though that's probably as accurate a possibility as there is -- maybe in an expanded limited series-style format. Because it could go in a lot of directions, I'm not sure I'd want a fresh look at it crunched into a traditional film; give the story some freshness, show viewers the veritable labyrinth that's possible with such technology, and maybe even see if Carpenter himself would like to spearhead it all.
That could be a grand return to form.
anniversary: "Starship Troopers" (1997)
I can't even begin to tell you the amount of pushback I've received over the years for merely stating that I enjoy Starship Troopers. When I even mention the film, I'm inundated with the usual suspects who only wanna cry and moan about "it isn't nearly as good as the book," and -- like William Shatner said so many years ago -- I just wanna tell them to go and get a life. Movies rarely -- RARELY -- match up the goodness of any novel, and that's because reading a book is a vastly more CEREBRAL experience than is watching a film. Fundamentally and functionally, they really can't quite compete with one another; so it's always safe to expect significant variations on a theme when watching any visual adaptation. That's just the way the ball bounces. And it always will.
Still, yes, director Paul Verhoeven CLEARLY went in a markedly different direction than the Robert Heinlein novel did with this situation and characters; and -- to a degree -- I see nothing wrong with that. Granted, it may've been better received as a project entirely of its own, losing any association with the Heinlein book, but studios don't often work that way when it comes to Science Fiction and Fantasy. In some cases, they've found that "adapting" (and, yes, I use that word loosely) an intellectual property gives them a stronger foothold in the marketplace; and this encourages fans of said work to come out and see what someone else has put together theatrically to celebrate a work's existence.
While I'll concede that point, I still can't help but tell you how much I enjoy Starship Troopers. Thematically, it felt very similar to Verhoeven's other forays in our beloved realm -- RoboCop (1987) and Total Recall (1990) -- so I look on it as the conclusion to his trilogy.
Hate me all you like. It won't change how I feel.
ANNIVERSARY: "tHE iNCREDIBLE hULK" (1977-1982)
But back in the days of the serialized format, there honestly wasn't a much better genre program than TV's The Incredible Hulk. Obviously, it was based on the Marvel Comics' property; and -- true to form -- it was understandably limited by the available technology of its day. However, Hulk very quickly established itself as a favorite amongst viewers for sticking to the tried-and-true serialized format of giving our extremely likable hero -- Dr. David Banner (as played by the great Bill Bixby) -- a kinda/sorta 'puzzle of the week' he had to solve. This problem would inevitable bring out the beast in him, and -- in customary fashion -- he'd have to warn those involved in the wronging to not make him angry ... because "you won't like me when I'm angry."
So, yes, it was formulaic, and audiences went in knowing full well what they would be getting in return for their hour-long investment. Think what you will about such old-fashioned storytelling, but I can assure you -- having lived through this era -- this was appointment television for so very many of us. It was great storytelling; and it was rewarded by being one of the more fondly-remembered shows of its day.
Here's the link ...
As always, thanks for reading ... thanks for sharing ... thanks for being a fan ... and live long and prosper!