Archive for the ‘Entertainment/movies’ Category

My list of some of the most romantic sci-fi lines

February 14, 2010

Okay guys, this is, among other things, a work/list in progress, so please feel free to suggest others I might have missed/forgotten. I’ve very limited time but I managed to draw these out of the top of my head. In no particular order, here they are:

“John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn’t know why at the time. It was very old – torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have”

-Kyle Reese, father of John Connor, talking to Sarah Connor in the movie Terminator (1984) while hiding form the terminator. Aaww. That is so romantic,  moving across time (and space) to be with the one you love. 😀

Mulder’s email to Scully:

I’ve resisted contacting you for reasons I know you continue to appreciate. But, to be honest, some unexpected dimensions of my new life are eating away at any resolve I have left. I’m lonely, Dana, uncertain of my ability to live like this. I want to come home. To you, and to William.

Scully’s reply to Mulder’s email afterwards:

I hold no hope you can respond to this. Or that it reaches you. I only hope that you are alive.

I cannot help believing that you jumped off that train because you knew what I now know – that these “super-soldiers,” if that’s what they are, can in fact be destroyed. That the key to their destruction lies in the iron compound at that quarry.

I am scared for you, Mulder. And for William. The forces against us are unrelenting. But so is my determination. To see you again. To regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time.

Until then, I remain forever yours… Dana

– In ‘The X-Files’ season 9 episode, ‘Trust No 1″. Mulder is separated for a time from Scully and their son, because if he hadn’t, he would be putting Scully and their son in danger. Aaww. Sniff sniff. 🙂

Just remember…no matter what happens…I’ll always love you. ALWAYS.

– Superman to Lois Lane, before finally dying at the hands of the monster Doomsday, in Superman #75  (1993). The line really isn’t something new, but the situation and the overall atmosphere made it really special in my opinion.

So there you go sci-fi buffs, geeks, and nerds. Happy Valentine’s day. 😀

Quotable Quotes: Avatar

January 14, 2010

Finally, my first 2010 post and it’s about the movie Avatar.

After watching it for at least 4 times, here are some of the more memorable quotes (for me) from the breathtaking, astonishing,  overwhelming, psychedelic, staggering, eye-popping, wondrous, awe-inspiring, (anybody notice that these are more or less synonyms of mind-blowing? 🙂 ) absolutely cool movie:

(Quotes updated)

Jake: “Tommy was the scientist, not me. He was the one who wanted to get shot out in space to find the answers.

(Jake Sully talking to himself after getting out of cryo)


Jake: There’s no such thing as an ex-marine. I may be out, but you never lose the attitude. I told myself I could pass a test any man could pass. They can fix the spinal (chord) if you got the money. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy.

(Jake Sully to himself right after landing on Pandora)


Quaritch: You’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re on Pandora, ladies and gentlemen. Respect that fact, every second of every day. If there is a hell — you might want to go there for some R & R, after a tour on Pandora. Out there beyond that fence, every living thing that crawls, flies or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubees.

(Miles Quaritch, during initial security briefing)


Grace: How much have you logged (link training)?

Jake: Zip. But I read the manual.

Grace: Tell me you’re joking.

Grace: So you just figured you’d come out here, to the most hostile environment known to man, with no training of any kind, and see how it went? What was going through your head?

Jake: (smiling) Maybe I’m sick of doctors telling me what I couldn’t do.

(Dr. Grace Augustine talking to Jake before his initial avatar linking)


Grace: (seeing avatar Jake curious about his queue) DOn’t play with that, you’ll go blind.

Jake: That’s kinda freaky.

(Grace to Jake before turning off the lights for bedtime)


Jake: Am I still with (Grace) Augustine?

Quaritch: On paper. You walk like one of her science pukes. You quack like one. But you report to me.

(Jake talking to Quaritch in the hangar area)


Grace: (To Lyle Wainfleet) Stay with the ship. One idiot with a gun is enough.

Jake: (smiling)

Wainfleet: You the man doc.

(During Jake’s first trip into the forests of Pandora)


Jake: So what about this one? Run? Don’t run? What?

Grace: Run! Definitely run!

(Jake asking Grace what to do with the Thanator eyeing him)


Neytiri: Don’t thank. You don’t thank for this. This is sad. Very sad only.

Jake: Okay, okay I’m sorry. Whatever I did I’m sorry.

Neytiri: All this is your fault, they did not need to die.

Jake: My fault? They attacked me. How am I to back–

Neytiri: Your fault! (pinning Jake to the ground). Your fault.

Jake: Easy, easy.

Neytiri: You’re like a baby, making noise, don’t know what to do.

Jake: Fine. Fine. If you love your little forest friends, why not let them just kill my ass? What’s the thinking?

Neytiri: Why save you?

Jake: Yeah, why save me?

Neytiri: You have a strong heart. No fear. But stupid, ignorant like a child.

(Jake and Neytiri talking for the first time, after Neytiri saves Jake)


Jake: I was a marine. A warrior — from the Jarhead clan.

(Jake talking to Eytucan during his interrogation)


Neytiri: Now you choose your Ikran (Banshee). This you must feel inside. If he also chooses you move quick like I showed.

You will have one chance Jake.

Jake: How will I know if he chooses me?

Neytiri: He will try to kill you.

Jake: Outstanding.

(Neytiri helping Jake to get his Ikran)


Grace: This is going to ruin my day

(After finding out that she’s been shot)


Norm Spellman: What’s the plan Jake?

Jake: There’s no plan.

Norm: (baffled) Tsu’tey’s olo’eyktan (clan chief) now, he’s not going to let you near that place.

Jake: I’ve got to try.

(Norm talking to Jake after they arrive near the Tree of Souls)


Outcast.

Betrayer.

Alien.

I was in a place the eye does not see.

I needed their help, and they needed mine.

But to ever face them again, I was going to have to take it to a whole new level.

(Jake’s ikran (banshee) arrives)

Sometimes your whole life boils down to one insane move.

(Jake talking to himself before bonding with the Toruc (the great Leonopteryx) )


The way I had it figured, Toruc is the baddest cat in the sky. Nothing attacks him — so why would he ever look up?

That was just a theory.

(Jake talking to himself before jumping to bond with Toruc)


I was afraid Jake, for my people. I’m not anymore.

(Neytiri to Jake after Jake arrives and has become Toruc Macto)


Jake: Look where we are Grace.

Grace: I need to take some samples.

(Jake brings the deathly ill Grace to the Tree of Souls)


Jake: (talking to Tsu’tey) With your permission, I will speak now. It would honor me by translating.

(Tsu’tey agrees to translate Jake’s speech into the Na’vi language)

The sky people have sent us a message, that they can take whatever they want.

And no one can stop them.

But we will send them a message.

You ride out as fast as the wind can carry you.

You tell the other clans to come.

You tell them Toruc Macto calls to them.

You fly now, with me. My brothers! Sisters!

And we will show the sky people, that they cannot take whatever they want!

And that this — this is our land!

(Jake giving his battle speech to the Na’vi, after Grace dies)


Jake: Give it up Quaritch. It’s all over.

Quaritch: Nothing’s over while I’m breathing.

Jake: I kind of hoped you’d say that.

(Jake to Quaritch in their final battle)


Quaritch: Hey Sully, how’s it feel to betray your own race?

You think you’re one of them? Time to wake up.

(Quaritch to Jake, before trying to kill human Jake in the link room)


Neytiri: Jake! My Jake!

(Gives human Jake the re-breather mask since human Jake is dying due to his exposure to Pandoran atmosphere)

Jake: (After several gasps of clean air) I see you.

Neytiri: I see you (eyes wet with tears).

(Jake and Neytiri touching each other’s hand, after Neytiri saves human Jake)


Jake: The aliens (humans) were sent back to their dying world, only a few were chosen to stay.

The time of great sorrow was ending. Toruc Macto was no longer needed.

(Jake’s monologue during the retreat of some of the RDA forces back to Earth)


Jake: Well I guess I better go. I don’t want to be late for my own party. It is my birthday after all. (smiling)

(Jake, during his last video log before finally being permanently transferred to his Avatar)


See an earlier form of the Avatar movie script, in PDF format,  by James Cameron from Fox’s own site here.  Some of the lines in that PDF file made it to the final version of the movie. It’s quite likely some of the other missing lines or scenes will make it to the extended DVD/Blu-Ray release, such as when Jake and Neytiri made love.

(Spoiler Alert!)

I’ve still yet to determine which ones from that earlier PDF file are canonical and which aren’t, such as Neytiri being 18 (in human years) during the events of the film, as well as her having a deceased sister, among others. Apparently, also in the earlier PDF file, Neytiri became pregnant at the end of the movie. I guess the scientists really did their homework when they mixed human and Na’vi DNA (according to Jake). 🙂

Things I’m hyped-up/excited about in 2010

December 15, 2009

This is still a work-in-progress list, so it will still be updated. I’m so excited about these that I managed to will myself to write a blog post about them… :). Anyway here they are (lo and behold, geeks and geekettes). Time to get your geek on:

Caprica – Back to the roots of BSG. Oh yes. Lots of sci-fi and sexy goodness.

The Flash: Secret Files and Origins By Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, bringing back the long dead Silver Age Scarlet Speedster.  With Geoff’s hot writing (especially post-Blackest Night) and Francis’ fantastic pencils, hopefully they’ll stay longer in the Flash books after this limited series ends.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne – Need I extrapolate any further? In case I do, Bruce has always been my favorite Batman, and somehow I knew DC wouldn’t keep him out of the picture for long. This reminds me of Reed Richards though, when he was sent in another time and place by Doctor Doom, as  a final strike against the fab four. Reed was found by his family though. However in Bruce’ case I think he’ll be the one responsible for bringing himself back to the present (?).

Supermand: Earth One and Batman: Earth One –  Graphic novel format! Retelling of Superman/Batman origins in modern times (ala Ultimates of Marvel)! J. Michael Straczynski and Geoff Johns (again) as writers, respectively! Need I say more? 😀 Anyway,  in case it’s not too obvious, I love the writers, the heroes,  the concept, and the format. I think it’s a good way to get away from the monthly format (I’m not saying I dislike them), and a good way to save money while salivating for the next graphic novel installment. I read that each graphic novel is about 100 pages, which reminds me of mange-type publications. Oh boy!

Iron Man 2 – Scarlett Johanssen as Nastasha Romanoff a.k.a. the Black Widow!  Downey Jr. and Paltrow returning as their original characters! War Machine! Samuel L. Jackson again as Nick Fury! Jeez, need I go on and say more? 😀

Planet Hulk – animated film. I’m not sure how well received the previous film incarnations which featured the Hulk were, such as Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2, as well as the Hulk Vs short films. But it’s good to see ol’ greenskin again, doing hulk smashes and proving once again  he’s a real force to be reckoned with in the Marvel U.

More updates soon.  Oh and suggestions are welcome. 🙂

\\//,

Vulcan salute ASCII art

August 10, 2009

As you all know, a lot of people, creative in art or not so much, create and use ASCII art ranging from the complex (machines, sceneries, human faces) to the trivial ones (faces, smileys: 😉 (^)__(^) d(o)_(o)b ). Now I’ve been looking around the Internet for a Vulcan salute ASCII art that really appeals to me. I mention appeal because the Vulcan salute ASCII arts I’ve seen so far are not so convincing, i.e. they don’t really look very much like the real salute (of course this is obviously a subjective thing).

Some of the Vulcan salute ASCII arts I’ve found are the following:

This one involves an underscore followed by 2 forward and backward slashes (source: http://www.geocities.com/dronak/smileys.html)

_\\//

This next one has one version similar to the above art, while the other version uses a “les than” symbol ‘<‘ to introduce the thumb (source: http://en.allexperts.com/e/e/em/emoticon.htm)

<\V/ or \V/_

As I’ve mentioned, I’m quite displeased with the above Vulcan salute ASCII art and so I created my own versions. The following are my two versions with specifications describing them and how they are made:

My version 1

_\\//()

\V/,

Specifications: This version uses backward and forward slashes to represent the pinky and the index finger, respectively, while the capital letter ‘V’ represents the ring and middle finger. Lastly, a comma represents the thumb. I used the comma for the thumb, and not an underscore like the above versions, since the thumb is usually not angled that much from the index finger in a usual Vulcan salute. In my version the forward slash (index finger) has a much smaller angle/opening with respect to the comma (thumb) compared to using a forward slash with an underscore. The smaller angle/opening is in my opinion, the correct form of the Vulcan salute as shown by Spock in this image.

My version 2

\\//,

Specifications: This is quite similar to the first  version I mentioned at the start of this post. That is, slashes represent the four fingers with the exception of the thumb. The differentiator is also the comma representing the thumb, which again has a look closer to the way a Vulcan salute is done.

License

Finally, I license my 2 ASCII art versions of the Vulcan salute under the following Creative Commons licenses listed here:

  • Attribution Attribution (by): Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they give the author or licensor the credits in the manner specified by these.
  • Non-commercial Noncommercial or NonCommercial (nc): Licensees may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only for noncommercial purposes.
  • Share-alike ShareAlike (sa): Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work. (See also copyleft.)

That is, under the Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (by-nc-sa) licenses of Creative Commons.

Comments and suggestions are welcome as long as they are calm and ruly.

And, as is the customary farewell among Vulcans,

Live long and prosper \V/,

Sci-fi ponderings when (almost) idle

June 22, 2009

I was talking to one of my housemates last night while I was taking a break from using my PC when we came to the topic of Terminators.  Being sci-fi fans (me especially) we talked about the realism of robots and computer software taking over the world.

The proposed problems pertaining to plausibilities

Now, my housemate proposed that Skynet, the autonomous computer program that took over the world and is responsible for the decline and domination of the human race, isn’t very plausible, or at least isn’t ‘too’ smart. His propositions are the following:

a) Skynet should have made the Terminators smarter so as to make them more adaptable to human circumstances, issues, and environment.

He mentions that though they look like humans, they (or at least the ones in the movies, unlike in the Terminator TV series) they still act relatively cold and robot-like. Adapting to human behavior, emotions, idiosyncrasies, at least temporarily, may help them perform their missions better, i.e. terminating their targets.

b) Skynet, at least in the future (so my housemate concedes), should have made itself connected/linked to Terminators so that it can use it’s powerful processors and information on humans, including their tactics, to finally wipe out the human race and leave nothing to stand up against it.

I made my housemate actually concede early in this proposition that this can only work in the future, because how would Skynet of the future control and communicate with Terminators it has sent to the past? It could be quite given that future Skynet would be linked to the Terminator pawns via some wireless technology, but wireless technology across time? Dubious.

The proposed answers to the problems

a) Now this one has been answered already in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, when John Connor asks (approximately at 1 hour 6 minutes of the Special Edition of the movie) if Terminators (or at least the T-800 model 101 Terminator a.k.a. Arnold model/line of terminators) can learn new things so they can be more human. The terminator responds by saying that Skynet “presets the switch to ‘read-only’ when terminators are sent out alone”, to prevent them from “thinking too much”. This then prevents terminators by default, or at least the movie terminators such as the T-800, T-850 T-1000, and T-X, from learning a lot of things about what makes humans humans.

b) One solution I’ve thought about for this specific conundrum in the Terminator universe, which could also be said in real life hardware/software,  is that if Skynet ‘hooks’ itself up to every terminator walking around trying to find, infiltrate, and terminate humans, i.e. connect its thinking to the terminators, then that would lead to a vulnerability. The vulnerability comes from the fact that by doing so (hooking up/connecting to terminators in the field) would allow humans to insert a virus or ‘anti-Sknet’ software to one or more captured terminators, which could then be uploaded to the main Skynet program and destroy Skynet entirely. This is possible because Skynet has to maintain a duplex connection to the terminators in the field if Skynet is to control them and still be in sync with the main Skynet program. I think this is a risk Skynet would not dare take.

Questions/comments/arguments? Feel free to post them as long as they’re calm, ruly. 🙂

Quite Quotable Quotes: Star Trek (2009 film)

May 11, 2009

From the new (and I should say fascinating) Star Trek film comes the following quotable quotes.

From Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) at the end of the film, the updated Star Trek mantra is as follows:

Space: the final frontier. These are the continuing voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.

And from Scotty (played by actor Simon Pegg):

So, the Enterprise has had its maiden voyage, has it? She is one well endowed lady! I like to get my hands on her ample nacelles if you’ll pardon the engineering parlance

And  from “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) and young James Kirk’s (Chris Pine) exchange:

Bones: Don’t pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. Solar flare might crop up, cook us in our seats. And wait till you’re sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles, see if you’re so relaxed when your eyeballs bleed. Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.
Kirk: I hate to break it to you, but Starfleet operates in space.
Bones: Yeah. Well, I got nowhere else to go. The ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I’ve got left is my bones.

Finally, what would Spock and the Vulcans be without the Vulcan salute coupled with

Live long, and prosper

😀

And some thoughts immediately after watching Star Trek:

1. Fascinating.

2. Can’t wait for the DVD and Blu-ray to come out.

3. Can’t wait for a TV series.

4. Can’t wait for the sequel (as confirmed by this site, the major cast  and crew are signed up for 2 more sequels. Yay!)

5. Can’t wait for more official books and comics.

Secularism and Physics on Death and Immortality

September 16, 2008

This post has the following readability test scores:

Flesch Reading Ease: 63.93
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 9.00
Automated Readability Index: 9.00

For more info about readability tests, check out my post about those here.

The premise: a problem

It has been said over and over again, as a defense or even as a backlash, by religious men and women that religion has a curative and comforting utility to humankind like no other. It has also been said over and over again by secular people and rationalists that however comforting some belief or idea is, it nevertheless adds nothing to the truth value of the belief or idea. That secularism offers nothing more than a skinny comfort blanket amidst the cold and pouring rain at best. That may well be true, and indeed it leads me to believe that it all boils down to what we really want: happiness or the truth. Happiness may not necessarily be true or what’s really happening, and having the truth may not necessarily make one happy. This conflict reminds me of the doggedly proverbial “The truth hurts” and The X-Files’ “The truth is out there”. This conflict also reminds me of the struggle in the movie The Matrix, wherein to know the truth, one has to be ‘removed’ from the confines of the complacency brought about by the virtual reality of the machines who have taken over. Once one has learned the truth, which involves living as a fugitive or freedom fighter wearing mostly ragged clothing near the center of the Earth, one is left to wonder if it would have been better to have stayed in the fantasy reality, even though it’s all make-believe. I guess it wouldn’t be so surprising considering the fact that human beings, like almost every other animal, are predisposed to follow what is certain to help in the continuation of its species. After all, speaking in a geological time scale, homo sapiens are but cells that have just fertilized, and are beginning to undergo cell division to form a larger animal.

The question

So then, if you will humor my ponderings, what could secularism possibly offer as an answer to one of the most profound questions we humans have asked since the dawn of our consciousness: What is death or what happens when we die? Do we survive death in some form or is there nothing after it?

Setting the mood

Quite a mouthful of questions, and ones that have plagued thinkers or philosophers for centuries upon centuries. But I think before I even begin to give my answer to those questions, a little ‘mood setter’ is in need. Some questions are too frank or too blunt in manner, which sometimes has the effect on the listener or the questioner of making one lose focus on the more relevant and apparent details. The mood setting quote is from the book Unweaving The Rainbow by prof. Richard Dawkins. It’s his reply to people who keep on ranting or complaining or fussing about their deaths. Everytime I read it, especially when I watched and heard prof. Dawkins read it with emotions in a talk at UC Berkeley, I cannot help but be moved by it’s message, wrapped around in romantic scientific prose:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people
are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The
potential people who could have been here in my place but who will
in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of
Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than
Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set
of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set
of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I,
in our ordinariness, that are here.

And continuing this passage in his talk:

We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state, from which the vast majority have never stirred.

Makes one (or at least myself) wonder if we even have the right to feel anger or guilt or even sadness by our undeniable demise.

Physics on death

An episode of The X-Files has agent Mulder talking to agent Scully about starlight. He says that starlight as we see it here on Earth is already billions of years old, and has traveled unimaginable distances (light-years). Stars that are now long dead, but whose light is still traveling through time. Mulder continues that perhaps that’s where souls (our souls, after we die) reside. Today, we know from physicists that the premise is correct (that starlight is very old and still keeps on traveling), but we can’t be certain (or perhaps not at all) about the succeeding statement of Mulder (about souls). Scully, Mulder’s partner, continues Mulder’s statements by saying that the light doesn’t die, and that maybe that’s the only thing that never does. Speaking in a purely Einsteinian fashion when dealing with spirituality and such, perhaps our ‘souls’ do reside in starlight, and in that sense our ‘souls’ do continue on forever.

Mulder’s statement

Taking the first statement into consideration, that ‘souls’ do reside in starlight, to be technical about it, we can probably say that it’s actually not starlight in our case but ‘planetlight’. We know that in order to see an object we have to shine light on it, after which the light bounces back, illuminating the object, back to our eyes. In the same sense, the Sun illuminates Earth at daytime, and at nighttime the Moon or our electrical/electronic devices light us up and our surroundings. In that sense light is shined on us, and so it is reflected back, which eventually reaches outer space and into the vast cosmos. In this way our ‘souls’ which in this case means our whole lifetime under some source of light, is ‘framed’ in a ‘wave’ of light cruising the universe. If there are intelligent lifeforms out there in the universe and they can’t come here due to technological constraints (same as our case), once they try viewing our part of the universe, what they’ll be seeing is planetlight (which is reflected starlight, the star being our Sun or light from some other source) containing us, our lifetimes, and our history. What they’ll be seeing of course depends on many factors such as how far they are from us, how sensitive their viewing instruments are, what time they tried viewing us, among other things.

Scully’s statement

As for Scully’s statement, that starlight doesn’t die, technically speaking that can be true, since as long as photons don’t get smashed or absorbed, they keep on travelling in space, most likely till the edge of the universe and (our) time itself. However there is a limit to how long light can travel for one to be able to ‘reconstruct’ the data (in this case our ‘souls’) it carries with it. This is because as light travels, similar to a wave, it spreads across time and space. As the light spreads, at some point in the universe very distant from the light source, it will be nearly to absolutely impossible to know what information that light brought with it. In a word, the light will be too ‘stretched’ to make any sense out of it. This is similar to research being done on the Big bang. We are in an epoch of the universe where we can still study ‘cosmic background radiation’ (electromagnetic radiation, same as light) leading back to the Big bang. If we were a few millions of years late, we might not be able to analyze the data that comes along with the cosmic background radiation. And so Scully is partially correct since light can possibly not die, but the information in the light may become lost to us or someone viewing us.

Finally, physics on immortality

In essence, our ‘souls’, most of our memories, achievements, feats, and other things in our light-stricken lives continue to propagate into inter-stellar space. The propagation duration many orders of magnitude longer than any of our lifetimes combined, which could be treated as practically infinity, and in some ways, immortality.

Bourne again

March 28, 2008

This post has the following readability test scores:

Flesch Reading Ease: 72.66
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 6.00
Automated Readability Index: 6.00

For more info about readability tests, check out my post about those here.

This post is about my reaction and reflections on the three Bourne films (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum).

Reactions

My initial reaction after watching the first film (The Bourne Identity) was

“Why in the world have I only watched it just now?????? This movie is pure genius!!!”. (ditto to the 2 sequels)

The movie is pure genius in terms of making the viewer guess and think things through, genius in terms of action, suspense, and thrills. Note that I’m only mentioning the film, not the novel by Robert Ludlum. And I know what you’re thinking

“What?? The Bourne Identity was back in 2002, The Bourne Supremacy was in 2004 and The Bourne Ultimatum was last year! Where have you been living? Under a rock?”

Yeah yeah I know it’s already been quite a while, and I know I should’ve watched all three (or at least the first two) years ago, but hey, I’m just 22. I had some other concerns back then, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the movies much if I watched them 4 or so years ago. Then there’s still school of course and my other interests: programming, watching anime, gaming, reading books and so forth and so on enriching my knowledge and giving myself what I have and know today. There go my excuses and alibis for you.

The Bourne Identity garnered a massive 83% on rotten tomatoes‘ top critics (not just any critic of the site), The Bourne Supremacy got 74% on rotten tomatoes’ top critics, and finally, The Bourne Identity gets a whopping 93% from rotten tomatoes’ top critics. How’s that for starters? The 3rd movie (though this is weird since the previous 2 movies were also highly acclaimed around the world. I guess the people over at the Oscars are too damn busy watching dancing people sing) got these on the 80th Academy Awards: Christopher Rouse for Best Film Editing, Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis for Best Sound, Karen M. Baker and Per Hallberg for Best Sound Editing.

Reflections

Anyway, I haven’t read Ludlum’s 3 ‘Bourne’ novels yet, and even though the 3 movies deviate largely from the books, I still think Ludlum is a master of suspense action/thriller, as can be seen from New York Times and other reviews on his books. What’s amazing was how Doug Liman (director of ‘Identity’ and producer of the last 2) and Paul Greengrass (director of the last 2 films) were able to update Ludlum’s novels to the 21st century. Mr. Ludlum’s novels were written in the late 80s, and one would quite certainly guess that the technology present in the 3 movies would probably be barely in Ludlum’s imagination at the time of the writing of the novels ( and he certainly wouldn’t have been able to accurately pinpoint what technologies would go off at our present time). This guess could be entirely mistaken, though, since I haven’t read the novels yet, but I would certainly bet my money on my guess. The update and modernization of the films from their novel counterparts were partly due to director Liman’s father’s work in NSA (this coming from the DVD commentary).

Why the movies are so cool (translation: why I like the movies)

1) They’re not Bond films

What got my attention on the ‘Bourne’ movies was primarily their espionage/black ops type of genre/film. I’ve watched almost all James Bond movies and believe me, I was a kid (around 10 or so) when I started watching those movies with my dad, and still I said to myself that James Bond stories and ending can’t always be true (a hint of my future pessimism and partial paranoia?). First, James Bond always had the prettiest girls, always drank the best drinks around, drove the best cars etc. Then he has in his command, the latest (and usually the queerest or most impossible) selection of gadgets around. He (Bond) always saves the world, gets rid of the bad guys, and the cycle continues. That can’t be right, can it? I mean, I love comic books and all but if anybody wants me to believe in James Bond, they have to do better than have comic-book-happy ending stories (while comic book stories don’t usually have a happy ending like in ‘Bond’ films mind you). I love spy movies (probably due to my dad’s liking of Bond films), espionage and stealth genres/themes, and I think that’s why I’m also pretty interested in ninjas, among other things.

2) Very cool action

I also liked the action certainly: from the first till the 3rd movie, the action gets even more physical and makes you want to hold on to something. Car chases, hand-to-hand fights in the movies make James Bond films look like Saturday morning action cartoons. This is how an agent (at least an extremely talented and capable agent/assasin) moves.

3) Parallelism to MGS

Another thing that made me extremely like the 3 movies is their parallelism/similarities to the Metal Gear Solid game storyline. I am a huge (did I also mention big and devoted?) fan of the Metal Gear series and storyline. Metal Gear tells the story of Solid Snake (as well as his father’s) and how they manage to pull through covert, black ops missions to save the world from nuclear holocausts. I tried searching through Google for possible mentions that Hideo Kojima (brilliant creator of the Metal Gear series and franchise) had some inspirations from mr. Ludlum’s novels, particularly the ‘Bourne’ movies, but to no avail. A lot of people I read from the Internet talk about the parallelism especially of Jason Bourne and Solid Snake’s (codename) father, Snake/Big Boss (also a codename), which I think is worth noting. The 2 were both very good at what they were doing (killing, covert/black ops, stealth missions) for the sake of their country, their people, and what they believe is right. However, they were both victims of their superiors’ desires to amass illegal wealth and power. Both of them were used, then afterwards framed, by their superiors, after which they take the fight back to them (superiors). What’s great about the ‘Bourne’ films is that Jason doesn’t really have to hide in corners or in the shadows to move around stealthily (at least in the ‘watchful’ eyes of the CIA) since he knows how the CIA agents think and move, which is quite different in Solid Snake’s case, as the latter requires some hiding etc in his missions. Then again, Solid Snake’s missions are quite different from Jason’s, as Solid Snake’s mission are usually in highly secured areas like fortresses, jungles, etc. It’s also quite ‘refreshing’ to see a spy film not use flashy gadgets or out-of-this-world equipments like those from the ‘Bond’ movies just so that one can defeat the bad guys, and also a spy movie which rely mostly on brains, and some brawn of course.

4) Strong women

What I also like very much on the ‘Bourne’ films is the way they treat women: women can and will have the power as well as the strength and the brains to do what they want. That’s what I believe and the movies certainly do a great work on it (empowering women). The roles played by Joan Allen as CIA Deputy Director and Task Force Chief Pam Landy, Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz (Bourne’s girlfriend), and Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons (CIA contact and logistics officer) all play strong women. Strong in this sense means great intellectual power, morality and sense of duty, though I would certainly think some of them can also kick other men’s asses. I’m a firm believer that women, who have mostly been subjugated by self-righteous men (religious men not the least, though they may not really realize it, nor the women who willingly let the men subjugate them), and even at some places in the world women are taken into what J.R.R. Tolkien would refer to as thralldom, can leave their misery behind them. I believe that women should be treated as equals of men in terms of ability to work, hold office, etc. The ‘Bourne’ movies certainly shows this line of thinking, which I appreciated very much. Frankly, I currently prefer women like the ones in the 3 movies: strong, opinionated women. Of course, there’s still room in my view for damsels-in-distress though.

4th movie/Sequel to ‘Ultimatum’

Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) have expressed that they didn’t want another movie as they think they’ve “ridden the horse as far as they can” or so Matt said. However, as of March this year, due to the financial and critical success of the 3 films, Matt and Paul are going to do a 4th movie, though the details of the new film aren’t out yet. The new film will most probably take some stories from the novel The Bourne Legacy

Finally, if you’re looking for an extremely well handled action-suspense-thriller movie that let’s you think, a movie that will make you hold on to your seats, and a movie that will touch you in many ways (physically, emotionally, psychologically etc), then this movie is definitely for you. I should say that it will not leave you unchanged after watching it.

Now, I’m off listening to the end soundtrack of the 3 movies: Moby’s Extreme Ways.

If I’m an atheist, why patronize theist works of art, music, film, etc?

January 2, 2008

Readability test scores for this post are as follows:

Flesch Reading Ease: 55.05
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 11.00
Automated Readability Index: 12.00

For more info about readability tests, check out my post about those here.

The Merriam-Webster website definition for patronize here that I use is the following:

“3 : to be a frequent or regular customer or client of

And not the derogatory meaning of the word, although this should not mean that all theist work of art, music, etc are all praiseworthy (at least from my viewpoint).

One of the things people ask me, assuming they know I’m an atheist, is how I can possibly enjoy theistic works of art, music, etc. without believing in their religion, or even in theism itself.

What I would normally reply, given the appropriate amount of time, is that it’s quite easy to understand or imagine, really. This reply of course has little assumptions of its own, and one of those is that the listener should have an open mind. For the listener to somehow even ‘glimpse’ the reason why or how I can enjoy theistic works of art, music etc, he/she must have at least a mind that is open to rational,sensible logic and imagination. He/she must also not be one of those religious fundamentalists, whether it be in Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, etc. What I mean by religious fundamentalists in this sense are those people who kill or are willing to die and kill others, not just themselves, just because their holy books think it’s appropriate to do so. Although I’ve actually never met someone like that before, I would think that it will be really hard, if not impossible, to reason my cause with them. And I believe the reason for that deserves another web log post of it’s own.

Going back to the reason for my answer as to why I manage to enjoy theistic works of art, music, etc while being an atheist, my answer is this:

For those of us who enjoy, for example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Star Wars saga, or Disney movies, we gather the fact that we acquire entertainment and amusement and wisdom from these works, without ever believing the characters really existed. Even as kids, teens, young adults, and adults, we enjoyed watching them, and probably at some points in our lives we deemed them to be true to life, we now know for a fact (I hope so) that they didn’t really happen or the characters never existed at all. We can enjoy songs by Josh Groban or Pavarotti for example, and be moved by how they sing, the emotions they put in their songs, the beautiful compositions, and the abstract or poetic meanings of their lyrics and still not be lulled into believing myths and fantastical stories they refer to in the scriptures.

From this reasoning, it follows that one can appreciate, enjoy, marvel at, and even be astounded, amazed, and moved by works of different people from different walks of life and belief. And from that reasoning also it should be clear that when, for example one sings or watches or buys theistic works, be they movies, books, paintings, songs, one doesn’t (and I believe should not) have to believe in all those supernatural stories and myths. One can appreciate and enjoy Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other great artists and their works, as purely fiction, and nothing more.

Of course the argument that what motivates people, artists, geniuses to create their masterpieces is faith, theism or religion is another matter altogether, and again deserves another web log post by me or another reading from the audience. One perfect reference for that is professor Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in the chapter titled The Argument From Beauty. In that chapter prof. Dawkins excellently explicates ( I always admire alliteration (^)__(^) ) the arguments pertaining to this line of reasoning. Prof. Dawkins goes on to say that, since there was hardly any other option other than to believe in the local religion back then (particularly Catholicism or Christianity if we’ll be talking about European artists in this case), naturally the artists would’ve decided to be theists. The other, extremely harsh consequences of not believing in God then was not receiving any funding (even for example, food and money) to complete one’s work, a chance to display one’s talents, and it would even be tantamount to death. In other words, it’s believe or suffer/die. Obviously the choice is usually rather easy. And people of different religiosity, theistic and atheistic beliefs derive their sense of awe, wonder, motivations and inspirations not from the belief in a supernatural creator, but if you look closely, to more human sensations and experiences: respect, love (e.g. for a mate, one’s country), death, suffering, sex, etc.

In closing, for us atheists and non-believers to be bothered as to why we allow ourselves to be immersed and to be able to appreciate theistic works of art, music, etc, thinking that it contradicts our non-belief, please don’t be. Enjoying something and believing it to be true are two entirely different things. For those of you out there who still cling onto faith, religion and theism just because you think you can’t leave your craft, be it making music, movies, books, etc. while being mentally gnawed by the irrationalities and inconsistencies of religion, you don’t have to be. There is a way out, and you can still enjoy your lives and your craft.

As always, comments from theists and atheists are welcome, as long as they’re in a calm, ruly way.

Atheists assemble!

‘Rebuild Evangelion’ is upon us!

September 20, 2007

Before I hit the books again and prepare for a host of exams and deadlines, I wanted to make sure I weblogged something about “Rebuild Evangelion”, which I only found out a couple of days ago.

If you’re an Eva fan (artistically, philosophically, et al), you must definitely watch this remake of the series, with new scenes, characters, and of course, cutting edge animation: all of these in good old Eva style. Also, the plot has been worked out a bit to make it a little more appreciable (if I’m not mistaken) than the original series.

When I watched this song video (from no other than ms. Utada Hikaru herself), I nearly popped my eyes out…(^)___(^) . Anyway, to see is to believe in some ways I guess, so here it is:

If anybody knows how I can download (torrent, direct download, etc.) and/or copy this movie, please tell me!

Unfortunately, it seems that it will take some years before they end this remake. They probably want us drooling for more ‘new Eva’ while they largely profit from all of it, but hey, it’s Eva! (^)___(^)