Posts Tagged ‘Aliens’

On the artistic and cinematic merits of ‘Aliens’

December 21, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Dec. 21, 2015

Back in July, I referred to James Cameron’s 1986 movie Aliens as seminal. I actually called it that twice, first in my review of Edge of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Live Die Repeat) and then in my writeup of Nick Cole’s 2014 novel, Soda Pop Soldier, which happens to pay homage to the Cameron film. (Rather improbably, the narrator of the book has not seen the movie.)

When I wrote those blog posts, I wanted to link to something that would back up my assertion about the importance of the movie. But I couldn’t find something that struck me as definitive, such as an entry on one of the American Film Institute’s lists of the top movies, and I didn’t want to get bogged down.

So I did what I often do when I’m looking into a topic: I opened a bunch of links and then I left the tabs open in my web browser for months.

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A player for all genres: Nick Cole’s heroic video gamer assumes the mantle of a knight-errant in ‘Soda Pop Soldier’

July 7, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
July 7, 2015

Nick Cole’s 2014 novel, Soda Pop Soldier, is a fun science-fiction romp with literary value roughly equal to the nutritional value of — well, of soda.

Cole’s vaguely realized protagonist doesn’t even get a proper name; most of the time, he’s known as PerfectQuestion, his in-game handle for the WarWorld video game competitions. At other times, others address the character as Wu, the moniker of the samurai he plays in an illicit fantasy video game.

Still, the plot is fairly compelling. Several decades in the future, Question has a job playing WarWorld games on his computer. The results have real-life consequences: Each victory on a given virtual front rewards the winning team’s sponsor corporation with valuable real-world advertising space. Unfortunately, Question’s sponsor, ColaCorp, has been losing battle after battle to the enemy WonderSoft corporation in a modern-warfare game set in a fictitious Southeast Asian country. (For ColaCorp, read Coca-Cola; for WonderSoft, Microsoft.) If things continue on this course, the entire team will be fired.

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Another glorious Ridley Scott mess

June 25, 2012

So I’ve seen Prometheus, the new Ridley Scott movie. Summing up: What a glorious mess.

The setup is intriguing. About 80 years from now, archaeologists Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) and Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) discover evidence that an alien race which they call the Engineers created humanity.

More accurately, they have found what appear to be star maps in artifacts from ancient human civilizations scattered across very different places and times, meaning that these cultures never had contact. The leap of faith — one of many — that this professional and personal couple make is that aliens are our makers. Corporate honcho Peter Weylanda (a heavily made up Guy Pearce) buys into this theory and dispatches a scientific expedition led by Shaw and Holloway aboard the eponymous starship to what they believe is the Engineers’ point of origin.

Prometheus is helmed by Captain Janek (Idris Elba) but under the nominal control of icy corporate bureaucrat Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Further muddying the lines of command are the actions of David, an incredibly intelligent and very meticulous android who answers to a mysterious authority. The identity and motives of David’s true master constitute something of a third-act revelation — although anyone who’s paying attention should be able to identify the person lurking behind the curtain well in advance. Read the rest of this entry »

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