Dystoporama Review: Judge Dredd   January 31st, 2017

“I am the law!”

Many of the reviews in this series will be returning to old favorites, but for this film it was my first time viewing it. I had avoided the 1995 film”Judge Dredd” because of the reputation for how phenomenally bad it was. On viewing the movie, I was expecting the worst, which may have actually helped make it a bit more enjoyable. The film is certainly not good, but it’s not abysmal either. It resides in the wide “so bad it’s good” range, to be appreciated by fans of schlock cinema. However, the movie should certainly come with a two-drink minimum to help improve the viewing experience.

“Judge Dredd” is based on a series of British comic books. The title crawl at the start of the movie informs the viewer that due to a series of environmental and social collapses, the outside world has become inhospitable to human life and the vast wasteland is known as the “cursed earth.” The remaining surviving population has been collected together and housed in giant mega cities, where crowding and limited resources has led to increased lawlessness. To combat the growing street violence, the legal system was reformed, giving Judges the combined power of police, judge, jury and executioner. Street judges patrol the city and dispatch swift justice. Read the rest of this entry »

Dystopia Review: Me and the Big Guy   January 25th, 2017

I’ve been thinking of 1984, which I need to watch and review soon. In the meantime, I remembered this short film I saw years ago and was happy to find it on YouTube.

“Me and the Big Guy” is a wonderfully clever satire on George Orwell’s dystopian world, where a clueless worker drone takes the title of Big Brother a little too literally. Brilliant work!

Journey Into podcast presents a story which falls nicely into my Dystoporama series.  The episode features a show from the radio drama X-Minus One, To The Future by Ray Bradbury.

The tale features a pair of scientists, husband and wife, who hope to flee a dystopian war-ravaged world into the past of 1955. They are important to the government they have fled, as their work on new and terrible weapons is sorely needed, so they are pursued. Will they be able to escape the clutches of the seeker hunting them?

It’s a neat tale and has some fun touches, like how both the fugitives and the loyal government man pursuing them, cannot help but covet and indulge on the bounties of the past such as chocolates, liquor and cuban cigars. They must be out of victory gin in the year 2155.

This story was also published under the title “The Fox in the Forest.”

Revisiting Zootopia   January 21st, 2017

“It’s called a hustle, sweetheart.”

I distracted myself from the impending presidential inauguration this week by re-watching Zootopia. I like to imagine the fantasy of having had Wilde/Hopps as a potential political ticket for this past election cycle, instead of the media-circus freak show we ended up with.

For the few people who may somehow have not heard of it, Zootopia is a fun mystery/adventure/buddy/cop movie set in an animated world of anthropomorphic animals. The plot involves a small female bunny, Judy Hopps in her quest to be the first rabbit police officer and the roadblocks she faces being taken seriously. Along the way she crosses paths with a con-artist fox Nick Wilde and the two become unexpected partners as they investigate cases of disappearing mammals in the titular metropolis of Zootopia.

Themes of bias, both conscious and unconscious, are threaded through the plot of the story. These are used as metaphors for racism and sexism, and while they are obvious they are also superbly nuanced. The nuance comes in big part due to how the narrative of the movie evolved. Read the rest of this entry »

“The Daleks are your servants…”

The Daleks with their simple pepper pot construction and modulated voices are probably the most-iconic monsters of the Doctor Who British television series. They could be argued to be one of the best villains, even given that it took them thirty some years to learn how to navigate a simple set of stairs. Even so, they have always been my favorites. It doesn’t matter that one of their mechanical appendages is a toilet plunger, the rotating dome with its single eye stock and the laser weapon always fill me with equal parts excitement and dread,

The Daleks are a wonderful metaphor for the ultimate fascists in their unceasing efforts to exterminate what they consider all inferior races. “Genesis of the Daleks,” a Tom Baker story from 1975 built upon this. It featured the science team and Davros’ secret police, decked out in black SS style uniforms, toiling away in a secret bunker to win an unending war. The World War Two allusions were obvious but they were backed up with a tight story, giving an interesting bit of retroactive-continuity to the cyborg menace. Read the rest of this entry »