I saw The Fifth Element for the first time when I was about ten or eleven. I loved it – the high-tech but grungy future aesthetics, Korben Dallas, the reluctant hero, Leeloo, the supreme being, and the story about how love saves the world. It immediately became one of my favorite movies and I’ve had a thing for Milla Jovovich and Bruce Willis ever since. The last time I saw the movie was a few years ago, so I decided to watch it again to make sure I wasn’t remembering it to be better than it actually was. And I wasn’t disappointed, mostly.
So, we all know by this point that there is going to be a third Star Trek movie and there’s even recent news that the cast has signed on for a fourth. I’m super excited about this because I actually kind of like the new Star Trek movies. Granted, I didn’t enjoy Into Darkness all that much, but I did enjoy the first of the new reboots. There are, however, several issues I have with the new movies. I don’t think the writers understand how alternate timelines work, and so the movies have suffered, but I’m mostly annoyed by the lack of progressive themes and messages that were so inherent to the Star Trek Original Series (TOS).
There are several things that I could talk about here, but today I am going to strictly focus on the cast. When TOS first aired, it was considered revolutionary in terms of representation. There was a Black woman who was in a leadership position and a Japanese man who was also in a leadership position and was in charge of piloting the ship. Neither were stereotyped or portrayed unfavorably, nor were they looked down on by any other crew members. While there were still issues over how people of color in the cast were paid and treated, as well as how much actual air time they got on the show, there is no denying that for its time, Star Trek was revolutionary. Nowadays, not so much. Originally, the TOS cast was supposed to represent the world in microcosm to show how Earth had united. In the 60s having some white people with accents, two people of color, and two to three women was considered enough to show that unity. Now I look at the cast of the rebooted movies and think: “Damn, that’s a lot of white heterosexual cisgender able-bodied men.” It doesn’t really have the same effect anymore. And if the new reboot movies really want to up their game, I think it is time to add to the cast. So what do the new Star Trek movies need in order to have them same impact that the original series had? Well, several things.
Recently there’s been a rash of anti-vaxxers, particularly in America, who claim that vaccines can lead to autism and so no one should vaccinate their kids. This is patently untrue, and it’s also very ableist. For example, if it were true, you’re basically saying that as a parent, you’d rather your kid had measles or the whooping cough than be on the autism spectrum. Autism is far from some kind of death sentence. There are many places doing in-depth research on autism, and there are many websites which look into how to live more comfortably as an autistic person. Today’s web crush, Autistic Life Hacks, is one of the latter websites.
Wow, so much happened in last night’s episode, it’s hard to believe it was just forty-one minutes long. I kept checking the time, incredulous that it wasn’t over (and beginning to dread how I was gonna condense all of this into a review that wasn’t the size of a novel). Speaking of novels, this week continues with the book-themed title and explores the consequences of reading the Dread Doctors book by Dr. Valack. In short: sometimes reading can be bad for you. Millions of spoilers after the jump and trigger warnings for mental illness and self-harm.
Minority Report was a great movie, save some differing opinions about the ending. For those who haven’t seen it, the movie is set in a Washington D.C. of the 2050s, where they have a new program called PreCrime. PreCrime relies on three precogs (people who can see visions of the future) who predict each murder before it happens. Then Tom Cruise and his fellow officers arrest the perpetrators before any murders can happen. The public is sold the idea that this is a great program which totally doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights. Though the movie was made in 2002, it had some great points to make about today’s technology and technological monitoring, as well as commentary on free will. Yet it was one of those self-contained movies; like with Citizen Kane, I never felt the need to see a sequel or to see any more of its universe. So I was apprehensive, not excited, when I first saw a trailer for a Minority Report TV show on FOX.
Look, there’s a lot of really fun stuff happening this summer in Marvel’s multiverse-spanning Secret Wars event. On the whole, it’s been a success and I’m still eagerly reading almost everything that they put out. But given how high the stakes were pushed to get us here, it doesn’t really feel like anything’s actually happening. The event works well as a way to remix the characters repeatedly—but it just seems to be a summer adventure before everything gets back to normal for the fall.
Yes, the result of all this will be the end of the Ultimate universe, in favor of importing certain favorites into the main Marvel universe, or some kind of hybrid. But that seems more like continuity cleanup than something really meaningful—frustrating in light of the gigadeath apocalypse that got us to Secret Wars in the first place. Copious spoilers below—you’ve been warned.
Magic is a very personal tool. It can be used to empower or enslave, create and destroy, and set certain special people on their journeys of self-discovery. In this way, while magic can have a direct impact on the world, that impact is typically made through the people who wield it. In video games, it’s basically a given that magic is going to be part of it if we have a fantasy setting, and while it’s interesting to see new takes on people wielding magic and how it affects societal divides and the growth or stagnation of cultures, I was faced with a new way of interpreting magic when playing Tales of Vesperia. This magic could be harnessed by living creatures, but humans were only just learning how to tame the beast, so to speak. This magic was, at times, violent, mysterious, and a more visceral threat than the main antagonist of the game: an interpretation that more pieces of fiction should utilize.