The Dark Tower

Darktowerhave recently watched The Dark Tower on DVD. It is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and stars Idris Elba and Mathew McConaughey. It begins when Eleven-year-old Jake Chambers experiences visions involving a Man in Black who seeks to destroy a Tower and bring ruin to the Universe, and a Gunslinger who opposes him. Jake’s mother, stepfather, and psychiatrists dismiss these as dreams resulting from the trauma of his father’s death the previous year. At his apartment home in New York City, a group of workers from an alleged psychiatric facility offer to rehabilitate Jake. Jake then discovers a high-tech portal, and travels to a post-apocalyptic world called Mid-World.

In Mid-World, Jake encounters the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain and discovers that Roland is pursuing the villainous Walter Padick, the Man in Black across a desert, seeking to kill him in revenge for the murder of his father, Steven, and all the other gunslingers. He explains that Walter, over the decades, has been abducting psychic children, as part of a villainous scheme to destroy the Dark Tower, a fabled structure located at the center of the Universe; this will allow beings from the darkness outside to invade and destroy reality.

Roland takes Jake to a village to have his visions interpreted by a seer. Meanwhile Walter Learns of Jake’s escape and journeys to Mid-World discovering from his henchman Sayre that Jake has abilities which could threaten the Tower. So Walter’s minions, the Taheen, attack the village hoping to capture Jake. Eventually Roland and Jake return to Earth. However Walter and the Taheen are not far behind and Walter captures Jake to use his abilities to destroy the Tower. So it is up to Roland to confront Walter and rescue Jake in order to save the Dark Tower…

A sequel to the Dark Tower called “The Drawing of the three” again starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey is also in the works. I have also noticed that Many critics have said that The film not a patch on the original Stephen King novels. I have found this sort of thing with many Film adaptations of novels, there is so much going on in the original novels that it would be nigh on impossible to translate it all to the silver screen and things inevitably get omitted. The Lord of the Rings had a similar issue, I am not saying it’s right but it happens and that explains why I like reading. Still I enjoyed watching it and would like to read the novels next.

Advertisements

Metropolis

The epic Science Fiction film Metropolis was released 10 January 1927. It Was directed by Fritz Lang and is set in a futuristic urban dystopia, run by wealthy industrialists from high-rise tower complexes, while a lower class of underground-dwelling workers work in terrible conditions to supply power to the homes of the mega rich. The Master of Metropolis is the ruthless Joh Fredersen, whose wealthy son Freder idles away his time in a pleasure garden with the other children of the rich until he meets Maria, a poor worker, who lives underground. Whilst exploring the machine Rooms Feder witnesses an industrial accident when one of the workers collapses from exhaustion causing an explosion. He then meets Josephat (Frederson’s Sacked Assistant) and returns to the machine rooms, where he swaps places with a worker and learns of a secret meeting. He also finds a coded map showing a network of ancient catacombs beneath Metropolis, Joh also sees a robot built by the scientist Rotwang.

Having seen the attrocious working conditions Freder decides to help Maria bring the working and ruling classes together. However Fredersen and Rotwang conspire to stop them, so Rotwang Kidnaps Maria and The Thin Man (Frederson’s Spy) attempts to bribe and intimidate Josephat into leaving Metropolis. Rotwang then creates a lifelike robot of Maria. This causes chaos throughout Metropolis, driving men to murder out of lust for her and stirring dissent amongst the workers. However the real Maria manages to escape from Rotwang’s house and Frederson learns of Rotwang’s treachery. Meanwhile Freder and Josaphat find the Robot Maria urging the workers to rise up and destroy the machines, and they proceed to destroy the Heart Machine, the central power station for Metropolis, causing carnage. Meanwhile Freder has a deadly encounter with Rotwang whilst trying to rescue Maria…

Numerous attempts have been made to restore the film in the 1970s-80s and Music producer Giorgio Moroder released a version with a soundtrack by rock artists such as Freddie Mercury, Loverboy, and Adam Ant in 1984. A new reconstruction of Metropolis was shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 2001, and the film was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in the same year. In 2008, a damaged print of Lang’s original cut of the film was found in a museum in Argentina. After a long restoration process, the film was 95% restored and shown on large screens in Berlin and Frankfurt simultaneously on 12 February 2010.

The Last Jedi

The last Jedi starts shortly after The Resistance’s new base is located by the First Order. Resistance fighters led by General Leia Organa evacuate their base when the First Order fleet arrives. Following an effective but costly counterattack led by Poe Dameron, Resistance fighters manage to destroy a First Order dreadnought, before the Resistance vessels jump into hyperspace to escape. However the First Order pursues them using a tracking device. Kylo Ren, Leia’s son, destroys the Resistance support fighters. Then the lead Resistance ship, is attacked killing several Resistance leaders and incapacitating Leia. So Command of the Resistance falls to Vice Admiral Holdo. However Poe, Finn, BB-8, and mechanic Rose Tico Disapprove of Holdo’s passive strategy, so they decide to take matters into their own hands and embark on a daring undercover mission.

Meanwhile, Rey arrives on the remote planet of Ahch-To with Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon to recruit Luke Skywalker to the Resistance. However Luke is Disillusioned and embittered by the failures of the Jedi and is under self-imposed exile from the Force. Consequently Luke is reluctant and refuses to join the resistance, even after learning of Han Solo’s death. However Unknown to Luke, Rey and Kylo begin communicating through telepathic visions. Prompted by R2-D2, Luke agrees to teach Rey the ways of the Force. Luke and Kylo give Rey differing accounts of the incident that turned Kylo to the dark side; Luke confesses that he momentarily contemplated killing Kylo upon sensing that Supreme Leader Snoke had corrupted him, causing Kylo to destroy Luke’s emergent Jedi Order in retaliation. Nevertheless Rey is Convinced that Kylo can be redeemed, So she leaves Ahch-To to confront Kylo without Luke.

Holdo meanwhile, reveals her plan to evacuate the remaining Resistance members using small transports. Poe disagrees and instigates a mutiny. Finn, Rose and BB-8 travel to the Canto Bight casino and acquire the help of a shady hacker named DJ . They infiltrate Snoke’s ship, but are captured by Captain Phasma, though BB-8 escapes. Then Rey also lands on the ship, and Kylo brings her to Snoke, who reveals a dastardly plot, unfortunately though Snoke’s sinister machinations backfire spectacularly resulting in a thrilling lightsabre duel. Kylo then offers Rey a tempting Proposition with tragic results.

Leia orders the evacuation while Holdo remains on the ship to act as a decoy while the others flee to a nearby old Rebel Alliance base on Crait. Unfortunately DJ reveals the Resistance’s plan to the First Order, who attack the rebel alliance, so in desperation Holdo takes drastic measures against Snoke’s First Order fleet. Rey escapes in the chaos, while Kylo declares himself Supreme Leader. BB-8 frees Finn and Rose, who escape after defeating Captain Phasma, and join the survivors of the evacuation on Crait. When the First Order arrives, Poe, Finn, and Rose lead the fight back. Surprisingly Luke arrives after changing his mind in order to confront the First Order so the surviving Resistance fighters can escape. So The First Order forces attack Luke then Kylo himself engages Luke in an another thrilling showdown.

Shin Godzilla

I have recently watched the exciting film Shin Godzilla. It starts with Japan Coast Guard investigating an abandoned yacht in Tokyo Bay, however their boat is suddenly destroyed and the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line is flooded by a mysterious happening. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi theorizes that it was caused by a living creature. At first everybody thinks he is mad but His theory is confirmed when news reports show a massive tail emerging from the ocean. The Prime Minister assures the public that the creature is unable to come onto land due to its weight. However it moves inland via rivers and makes landfall leaving a path of destruction and causing numerous civilian casualties before evolving and returning to the sea.

The government officials focus on military strategy and civilian safety, while Yaguchi is put in charge of a task force to research the creature. Due to high radiation readings, the group theorizes that it is energized by nuclear fission. The U.S. sends a special envoy, Kayoko Anne Patterson, who reveals that a disgraced, vehemently anti-nuclear zoology professor, Goro Maki, had been studying mutations caused by radioactive contamination and warned of the creature, but the U.S. covered it up. The abandoned yacht belonged to Maki and he left his research notes there before disappearing.

The creature, named Godzilla after Maki’s research, reappears, now twice its original size, and makes landfall near Kamakura en route for Tokyo. The Japan Self-Defense Forces mobilize, but their attacks have no effect and they are forced to withdraw to protect civilians. The U.S. intervenes based on defending their embassy, prompting the evacuation of civilians and government officials. U.S. B-2 bombers bombard Godzilla; Godzilla responds with highly destructive atomic rays fired from its mouth and dorsal fins, killing many top government officials. The battle leaves radiation fallout and destruction in a huge part of Tokyo. After depleting its energy, Godzilla becomes torpid.

Yaguchi’s team discovers that Godzilla’s fins and blood work as a cooling system and theorize that they could use a coagulating agent to freeze it. After analyzing tissue samples, they find that Godzilla is an ever-evolving creature, able to reproduce asexually. The United Nations, aware of this, informs Japan that they have sanctioned the use of thermonuclear weapons against Godzilla. Evacuations are ordered in multiple prefectures. Unwilling to see nuclear weapons detonated in Japan again, Patterson decides to use her political connections to buy time for Yaguchi’s team, who eventually have a breakthrough and find a method which could stop Godzilla. In a last deperate gambit Japan enacts this plan shortly before the planned Thermo nuclear strike on Tokyo by the United Nations International Community. So Godzilla is provoked into using its atomic breath by attacking it with explosives until it runs out of energy and goes torpid. Then Government Forces, Scientists and the Army attempt to deal with Godzilla, however this does not go smoothly and Godzilla starts reproducing and evolving even further…

Isaac Asimov

Prolific Russian-American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, Isaac Asimov, was born January 2, 1920, he is best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Isaac Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His works have been published in all ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (although his only work in the 100s—which covers philosophy and psychology—was a foreword for The Humanist Way). Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the “Big Three” science fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are explicitly set in earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series. Later, beginning with Foundation’s Edge, he linked this distant future to the Robot and Spacer stories, creating a unified “future history” for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He wrote many short stories, among them “Nightfall”, which in 1964 was voted by the Science Fiction Writers of America the best short science fiction story of all time. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

Asimov also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as non-fiction. Most of his popular science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going as far back as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often provides nationalities, birth dates, and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms. Examples include Guide to Science, the three volume set Understanding Physics, Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery, as well as works on astronomy, mathematics, the Bible, William Shakespeare’s writing and chemistry. Asimov was a long-time member and Vice President of Mensa International, albeit reluctantly; he described some members of that organization as “brain-proud and aggressive about their IQs.” He took more joy in being president of the American Humanist Association. Such is Isaac Asimov’s influence on popular culture that Many things have also been named in his Honour including The asteroid 5020 Asimov, a crater on the planet Mars, an Elimentary school in Brooklyn, New York and the Isaac Asimov literary award.

Most of Asimov’s robot short stories are set in the first age of positronic robotics and space exploration. The unique feature of Asimov’s robots are the Three Laws of Robotics, hardwired in a robot’s positronic brain, which all robots in his fiction must obey/follow, and which ensure that the robot does not turn against its creators. The stories were not initially conceived as a set, but rather all feature his positronic robots — indeed, there are some inconsistencies among them, especially between the short stories and the novels. They all, however, share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots, and morality. Some of the short stories found in The Complete Robot and other anthologies appear not to be set in the same universe as the Foundation Universe. “Victory Unintentional” has positronic robots obeying the Three Laws, but also a non-human civilization on Jupiter. “Let’s Get Together” features humanoid robots, but from a different future (where the Cold War is still in progress), and with no mention of the Three Laws. The multiple series are interconnected in some way.

The first four robot novels The Caves of Steel (1953), The Naked Sun (1955), The Robots of Dawn (1983), and Robots and Empire (1985) make up the Elijah Baley (sometimes “Lije Baley”) series, and are mysteries starring the Terran Elijah Baley and his humaniform robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw. They are set thousands of years after the short stories, and focus on the conflicts between Spacers — descendants of human settlers from other planets, and the people from an overcrowded Earth. “Mirror Image”, one of the short stories from The Complete Robot anthology, is also set in this time period (between The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn), and features both Baley and Olivaw. Another short story (found in The Early Asimov anthology), “Mother Earth”, is set about a thousand years before the robot novels, when the Spacer worlds chose to become separated from Earth. Because many of the Robot novels were written prior to 1962, they were not eligible for science fiction awards, such as the Hugo. However Robots of Dawn was nominated for both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1984, and Robots and Empire was shortlisted for the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1986.

Asimov sadly passed away 6 April 1992 but has left a rich legacy of science-fiction novels. January 2 has also been declared National Science Fiction Day by many science fiction fans in the United States to commemorate Isaac Asimov and although It is not an official holiday as such, As it is not recognized or declared by any government, it is a good excuse to watch loads of Science Fiction including Star Wars, Star Trek, and read loads of Isaac Asimov stories.

Avengers:Age of Ulton

I have recently watched the exciting Marvel film Avengers: Age of Ultron’ again. It picks up soon after the events of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ with the re-formed Avengers raiding Baron Von Strucker’s secret Hydra scientific facility in Sokovia. However the raid does not go to plan prompting Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to begin to work on an Artificial Intelligence program called Ultron, as a failsafe with which he hopes can protect the earth from intergalactic enemies such as the Chitauri which they fought at the climax of the first movie.

A sceptre is recovered during the raid on the Hydra Scientific Facility and Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. However this goes wrong when The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, realizes that humans have caused all the trouble in the world and comes to the conclusion that in order to save the Earth he must eradicate humanity. So he attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. Escaping with the sceptre, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoffs, who blame Stark for their parents’ deaths and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk to rampage until Stark stops him with his anti-Hulk armor.

Following the carnage caused by The Avengers while battling Ultron followed by Hulk’s nightmare induced rampage, a worldwide backlash occurs against the Avengers which sends the team into hiding at a safehouse. Meanwhile Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanov and Banner plan to escape together. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to work togethef and form a plan to stop Ultron, who is currently In Seoul, Coercing the team’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to perfect a new body for him. However Wanda reads Ultron’s mind; and discovers his sinister agenda for human extinction, and the Maximoffs decide to rebel against Ultron. Then Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton arrive, find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, however Ultron captures Romanov.

Meanwhile Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. into the synthetic body. However having seen the carnage Ultron has already caused, the rest of the Avengers are understandably nervous. Eventually though Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow – is one of the six Infinity Stones, which are the most powerful objects in existence – and this was part of his vision. The newly created “Vision” and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium hoping to cause global extinction. so Hulk rescues Romanov and joins The Avengers to fight Ultron and his army with the help of Nick Fury, Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. in an explosive showdown. However unbeknownst to The Avengers or SHIELD sinister forces are also at work behind the scene…

Doctor Who Robot

The first episode of the Doctor Who story Robot was broadcast 28 December 1974. Starring Tom Baker, Elizabeth Sladen Nicholas Courtney amd Ian Marter. It starts shortly after the Doctor’sthird regeneration, The Doctor is still rather disorientated so Sarah Jane Smith and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Lieutenant Harry Sullivan of UNIT keep their eyes on him. The Doctor tries to sneak off in his TARDIS, but the Brigadier and Sarah Jane stop him. The Doctor then learns abouat the theft of top secret plans for a disintegrator gun. The Brigadier takes the Doctor to the Ministry of Defence advanced research centre where the plans were stored, and the Doctor notices a strange footprint. So UNIT is dispatched to protect factories where critical parts for the gun are manufactured, but they are outwitted by the culprit.

Elsewhere Sarah Jane investigates the National Institute for Advanced Scientific Research, colloquially known as the “Think Tank” and discovers that director Hilda Winters and her assistant Arnold Jellicoe are developing a robot, Experimental Prototype Robot K1, to be used to perform tasks in hazardous locations in place of humans. Sarah Jane learns that K1 was originally built by Professor J.P. Kettlewell, a former member of the Think Tank who has now turned his sights on alternative energy. Kettlewell asserts that Winters, Jellicoe, nor anyone at the Think Tank have the capacity to program it correctly, and that if they have tampered with the robot it could have disasterous results. Sure enough the Corrupted K1 attempts to kill Kettlewell, however the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and UNIT intervene

Unknown to UNIT, Winters and Jellicoe have programmed K1 to kill Cabinet Minister Joseph Chambers as “an enemy of humanity”, and to use the completed disintegrator gun to steal papers from his personal safe. UNIT discovers this death, and the Brigadier explains the importance of Chambers; the stolen papers were launch codes for the nuclear weapons of the major nations, given voluntarily to British as a neutral entity to only be released in the time of great need. Winters, Jellicoe, and others of the Think Tank are also found to be members of the Scientific Reform Society, who seek to put scientists in charge of the world believing they can make better decisions for humanity than the current governments. Learning of a Reform meeting that night, UNIT prepares to move out, while Sarah Jane, discovers that Kettlewell is also a member. At the meeting, Sarah Jane is stunned to learn that Kettlewell is the mastermind behind an dastardly plot involving K1 which could wipe out humanity, then Sarah Jane finds herself in mortal danger. Then UNIT arrives, however Winters, Jellicoe, Kettlewell, and K1 escape with Sarah Jane as their hostage. Harry, having entered the Think Tank under the guise of medical inspections, sees the group enter a bunker and warns UNIT before he is captured.

Winters Blackmails the world governments into complying with the demands of the Scientific Reform Society and gives them thirty minutes to comply. Then he orders Kettlewell to hack ino the World’s defence networks and launch their Nuclear Missiles if the demands of the Scientific Reform Society are not met. Repentant Kettlewell tries to help, Sarah Jane and Harry to escape but is killed by K1. Meanwhile Winters takes matters into his own hands and with the fate of the world hanging in the balance he instructs K1 to destroy the Doctor and UNIT while he Tries to cause Armageddon.