Live Long and Prosper, Spock

SpockAccording to The New York Times, Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock in the original Star Trek series, has passed away. Perhaps more than any other single actor, Nimoy helped make Star Trek a global phenomenon. He took on the role of the highly logical Mr. Spock and somehow made him the most human member of the Enterprise crew. For that, and for many other things, he will be missed. Live long and prosper.

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To Adapt, or Not To Adapt? (a response to Kat Sas)

Why does everybody hate me?
Why does everybody hate me?

In response to my “trolling” on Facebook, my friend Katherine Sas published a post on her blog Raving Sanity in which she discusses why some film adaptations fail even though they seem to superficially resemble the book. In “A Series of Uncorrelated Events,” she notes that adaptations can sometimes get bogged down in trying to convey the details of the source material without paying sufficient attention to the story in the film (a “paint by the numbers” adaptation). Although I generally agree with her argument, I think it worthwhile to look more closely at the different types and range of adaptation choices.

Before going further, let me clarify that I do not intend to engage in a debate with Kat Sas about the Watership Down adaptation. I enjoyed the novel and thought the movie was passable, but truthfully do not feel particularly well versed in either. Rather than pretend to be an expert on that story, I will engage with her analysis of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium.

Continue reading “To Adapt, or Not To Adapt? (a response to Kat Sas)”

“Starship Troopers” and War

Last December, I reviewed Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, one of my favorite novels. I had focused on the political dimensions of the novel, but the book is also a useful vehicle for thinking about war – even 55 years after it was first published. Popular Mechanics has an interesting article about the applicability of the novel to modern warfare. I don’t agree with everything it says about Starship Troopers, but the article is a quick and worthwhile read.

“Robocop” (1987)

robocop__1987_movie_poster_by_lelmer77-d5cdbn2I finally saw the RoboCop reboot a few months ago, so I decided to rematch the original 1987 RoboCop by director Paul Verhoeven and writer Edward Neumeier.

Much has been made of Verhoeven’s social commentary in the film. As is typical of 1980s sci-fi films, the villain is a cabal of corporate executives and gangsters obsessed with profit. Through its use of fake TV infomercials, RoboCop pokes fun at excessive capitalism and its intrusion into everyday life. In the film, capitalism dehumanizes people, both figuratively, by treating them as mere consumers, and literally, when Omni Consumer Products takes police officer Murphy’s body and places it in a mechanical suit. Continue reading ““Robocop” (1987)”