Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Arrival was a lovely film... but what why the crippling role of TIME TRAVEL in the storyline?
I mean, it worked as an edited (re-edited) editorial style... or did it?
Did it really work? Was the Joe Walker recut any more revealing than the original cut? That message from General Shang head of the Chinese military? I was okay with it at the time, or was I? The ending was very much like a recapping of things that have already happened where the film was actively about these things that are yet to happen. So, what the end of the film did was FLIP TIME to answer its own question about the non-linearity of time.
Is the 'critical information falling backwards through the time loop' any less of a sin than the classical time paradox of 'killing one's own grandparents'? I mean, it feels like Hollywood have used this motif a lot, in an effort to avoid what's called Time Paradox. I understand that this film is based on the original short story Story Of Your Life by Ted Chiang and I understand that story's contention that 'learning (such) a foreign language might alter one's brain' but I'm not convinced the 'time element' should have featured so critically in this film's solution.
What could have been a celluloid classic of GAE or Galactic Alien Empathy was given this throw-away General Shang-delivered get-out-of-jail-free card for Humanity and then the aliens were quickly like, "Oh, we found you (that's specific person you) because you'll help us fix us in 3,000 years," and it's all potentially starting to sound like several other films where insectoidal future Humans return to Earth to beg/borrow/steal the genetic traits of their forefathers their galaxy travels have somehow eradicated or worn out.
There's a very real paradox in having someone send a message to the past that can be used to alter the future. I think Philip K Dick did 'precogs' the best: he had these poor time-straddling creatures constantly battling the multiple time-variants of their precognitive actions. But then such a narrative device becomes a Groundhog Day of efforts made that fail fail fail until that one time-line you find that has a satisfactory outcome (for your agenda). But such a time-fixing moment will only allow an arbitrary future to progress from that point and you'd never really see the consequences of your actions because your precog work begins afresh once you(think you')ve found the time-paradox sweetspot. Time loops always collapse.
Arrival's excuse-for-an-ending is a bullshit play, is what I'm saying. There must have been a better way to unwind this language-translation film, is what I'm saying... change ANYTHING and you change the entire universe i.e. on the personal level, you are no longer the same you.
...this film never happened, what you're about to see isn't a trailer, it's the best section from a 2014 nine-minute Proof of Concept piece from director David Weinstein mostly showing off the animation/fx skills of co-partner Adam Coggins.
The acting, meh.
The direction, meh.
The creature, m'yeah!
It was called ENVOY and in my book that means a messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission.We love the work Coggins did on this never-made vignette, and we hope it got him many an fx gig from the larger studios. The fluid animation and sympathetic depiction of the alien embassador or whatever it's supposed to be are properly commendable. Derivative, sure, but getting there...
Storywise, no idea. It's either gonna be some off-world meet-n-greet or some escaped bio-military Frankenstein experiment like RoboCop or something. Great adventure? This reviewer prefers the former, take me to a place that hasn't been explored since Wall-E or since Disney's amazing UFO-romp Flight of the Navigator.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
INDIVIDUAL: (n) a separate universe that sometimes brushes up against a neighbouring universe.
Some would argue that we're all one, just a vapid reflection of a greater whole.
Some say we can come together, as this one, and it'll all be better.
Some say VOTE for this party, VOTE for that party, Elect a Leader...
This is a Free Planet - at least that's the basis of my contention - and we technically don't need no fucking leaders. But we do need to vote. And we need this functionality on a global scale. Whether we're a Richman or a Poorman, Beggar or Thief or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor... it's all a global issue.
And you as a Free Planet INDIVIDUAL should be allowed your VOTE on every single issue that relates to your life on this star-orbiting tilted-spinning rock.
Gods and their godma?
What would you feel was worth delivering your individual global button press upon?
Brown paper bag. Trying not to faint. Trying to keep a grip.
"When I first heard about this live-action version, I was like 'meh'... now, I'm like GIMMEH."
Saturday, November 12, 2016
"Language is a virus," proclaimed performance artist Lauri Anderson in the 1980s.
In Arrival's case, the viral-language is the mostly-symbolic squid-ink circle-script of an octopus-like alien species that looks like smooth-Cthulhu pouring from the roiling mists of ancient Earth history. You're right, I used a lot of imagery there but Hollywood's Satan-worshipping prance is never that easily exorcised. Satan, how is that fair? Looking at the 'alchemical' image above, you'll see that it's an inverted seven-star. This is how the seven-fingered 'hands' of the seven-legged 'heptopods' are actually rendered in the film. Point downwards... now, that's a proper introduction to the Dark Arts.
The living black-embossed Ouroborus-like circular-vocabulary is emitted in groups of three, just like the Anima-Spiritus-Corpus of the above alchemical image. Were the twelve ships of the alien race to represent the twelve apostles of Christ, "We don't see him," and there's unsubtle suggestion in the film that 'seeing Christ' is a moment that can only take place once unity of belief has happened. Around the world. Once we're one, in trust and God. A new world order achieved...
Arrival is what happens when profit-cynical Hollywood (or the Great Mind Management Machine) gets hold of your little story, in this case Ted Chiang's original Story of your Life (which I have read online since writing this review, ed). The major themes explored by this award-winning novella are Determinism, Language, and The Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis where the 'understanding' of a language is said to alter the linguist's brain. The aliens in the film are a unique brand of octopus that has seven legs and walk like The Adams Family's hand-Thing.
But everybody knows an octopus has eight legs, so what's the seven-legged version doing in this film? The seven-legged Octopus refers to the Spectre that game theory's this planet on a daily basis, and it's becoming a more and more prevalent logo for companies around the world. Slavoj Zizek's new work Disparities has such a seven-legged Octopus on the cover. One never see the Eighth Arm of The Global Octopus, unless one has NTK or Need To Know. The free-masonic Statue of Liberty sports a seven-pointed crown. The seven-pointed star is also said to relate to a time in man's history when Mars and Venus played sky-ripping plasma games between Earth and proto-Saturn a.k.a. Satan.
Arrival's director Denis Villeneuve, cinematographer Bradford Young and editor Joe Walker made a pretty good stab at keeping the viewer on edge, while screenwriter Eric Heisserer penned some clever reveals and cunning narrative escapes. The cast was a horse well shod; neck erect, tail aflick, hooves lifted high.
There's a very interesting article on SlashFilm about Arrival's aum-chanting score, by Ridley Scott's new Blade Runner 2049 composer Johann Johannson, which features a link to the ultra-contrasty Max Richter piece On The Nature of Daylight that opens the film. Therefore, I like the tone of how this film starts. I like the ghostly portentous ending. Original material, sinister alchemical issues of the film's rendition and the causatory fourth-dimension aside, this film was pretty-much spot on.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Monday, November 07, 2016
In recent SC or PU posts I've waffled on about DOORS and IDENTITY but these were mere technical aspects to the sandbox aspect of Persistent Universe. The real issue (that Star Citizen has yet to address) is the 'cart before the horse' or THE INTELLIGENT SPACE SHIP as a conduit of your growing empire within the Persistent Universe of Star Citizen.
Does the CEO of a corporation (or galactic conglomerate) fly his own ship?
Surely not... and while one might start the game flying around and shooting and taxi-ing and farming and looting and pirating, a greater ambition in this universal sandbox must surely be TO MANAGE THE PERSISTENT UNIVERSE or some not-yet-sketched-out variant of planetary/interstellar overlordage. Persistent Universe A.I. should be watching how you play the game and apply such a burgeoning neural net to the way you fill positions below your current hierarchy level. New Player belongs to ship belongs to fleet belongs to conglomerate, so you'll only be allowed in where you FIT to an already-existing hierarchy. Until he has formed his own n'net.
A decent command-and-control system could then be driven home right at the start, by-passing any 1990's-era clunky career-choosing ship-choosing door-choosing interface with this S3 or Simple Sandbox Statement, "You are the cart that flies every horse," and all 'seats' in any ship or corporation should be AI-occupied or player-controlled from the get-go based on you the FGO or Future Galactic Overlord.
Once that's understood, a suitable workaday interface is evident, right?