Monday, August 27, 2007

Top 5: Cliches from Outer Space

Weeks of traveling from one end of the country to another, and what do I get when I get home? A weekend without power. Seriously. I got home around 6 on Friday, and the power went out at 6:30. As of right now on Monday morning, it's STILL not back on. Talk about suck dude. So, what can one do at home without any power these days? I mean, there's always the portable DVD player, but thats only good for a movie or two before the battery dies. I guess I could read but, I mean, really...

Or, I could come up with a list of some of my favorite science fiction movie cliches! (In no particular order)

All Knowing Central Computer

HAL, Mother, Icarus, just 'Computer' (boy the Gene Rodenberry was a genius), there's always something. Some computer who knows everything that's going on and may or may not be conspiring against you in order to complete the mission. Keep in mind, you may not be aware of it's TRUE mission. Just because you're there to tow some ore back to Earth doesn't mean that it's not trying to return an alien specimen.

Faster than light travel

Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity claims that you can't travel faster than the speed of light. So, how does one get from one place to another without violating this principle? This is a personal favorite. This is where we get to play with all sorts of theoretical physics, whether it's a matter/anti-matter engine, subspace, wormholes, infinite improbability engines, whatever, there's always SOME way to get around this one.

Trusted non-human

Chewie, R2-D2, Spock, Data, Worf. He's never in charge, but he's always there to help. As a human, it's up to you to save the galaxy, not one of these, clearly, inferior beings. However, proving that aliens aren't totally useless, you've got a sidekick to bail you out when the going gets tough. Good thing, too. You'd think that if humans were so good at everything and able to rise through the ranks to captain all the good starships and be in charge at all the best'd think they'd need a little less bailing out.

Not to be trusted non-human

Be careful though, not all non-humans are as altruistic as others. Some of them are out to kill or capture you, or just subvert your mission. Think Ash from Alien or Roy Batty from Blade Runner. Just because they're designed to help you, doesn't mean that they will.

Everyone speaks English

Awfully fucking convenient, isn't it. Everywhere you go, everyone is able to understand each other. For fuck's sake, everyone doesn't even speak English on THIS planet, why would they speak it across the galaxy? It seems to lend the ultimate air of implausibility to the story. I understand that it's a movie and the viewer speaks English, but it's impossible (or at least very VERY unlikely) that someone would travel to another planet and be able to understand whatever sentient beings are living there. Naturally, some attempts have been made to explain this phenomena, Star Trek's universal translator, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy had the babel fish, and Star Wars just referred to it as Galactic Basic instead of English.


Unknown said...

WHATEVER! You got to see me! That has to be worth SOMETHING.

J.D. said...

The Babel Fish is awesome, and it works to the Guide's advantage, mainly because it's plausible.

Unknown said...

The Babel Fish is certainly more plausible than the Universal Translator in Star Trek, also, it's a much more interesting idea. That a creature would develop somewhere to fit this very unique niche.