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Showing posts from August, 2010

James Bond's science fiction imaginary

By any standard, even by the standards of other Bond movies, Moonraker is a bad film. Though Roger Moore was yet to truly descend into his immobile, parodic, geriatric mid-1980s self, Moonraker carried on the flatulent, throwaway feel of The Spy Who Loved Me, an overlong bore of a film that traded on the curio attraction of Richard Kiel's 'Jaws' villain, the underwater Lotus Espirit and Ken Adam's grandiose sets (the interior of the sub-swallowing supertanker was one of the most expensive and largest sets ever constructed on a sound stage).

Moonraker, released in 1979 in the wake of the success of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, doubled-down on the spectacle and tried to avert our eyes from the plot holes. The film begins with a Space Shuttle being transported to Britain on the back of a 747, echoing NASA publicity footage of the late 70s (before the Shuttle's first orbital mission in 1981). The Shuttle was made by Drax Industries, and when the 747…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

At the beginning of the film, I thought to myself. 'Why 1957?' With Indy the subject of a barely-credible FBI investigation of Reds Under the Bed, and the author of a barely-credible escape from a nearby H-bomb test in a lead-lined Fridgidaire, I wondered why the film wasn't set earlier in the 50s (despite Ford's apparent superannuation). In the hallowed phrase of Toy Story 2's Stinky Pete: 'Two words: Sput Nik.'

Where the original Raiders conjured with World War 2 films and adventure serials with the Nazis as villains, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull plays with an amusing series of Cold War science-fictional pop-mythologies: the so-called 'Area 51' at Groom Lake, Nevada (where it transpires that the Ark of the Covenant is stored, revealed in a visual aside); the Roswell crash; the Soviet experiments in parapsychology, ESP, psychokinesis and so on; von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods; and of course the 'Rooshians' as ubiquitous baddies a…

Me, James Bond and hyper-mobility

Coming soon, an essay on Casino Royale and mobility, in Revisioning 007: James Bond and Casino Royale, edited by Christoph Lindner, with Wallflower Press.

http://www.wallflowerpress.co.uk/product/new-titles/revisioning_007

Star Wars (Marvel Comics)

I've been watching a lot of Star Wars recently. My nearly-5-year-old daughter had massive thing for the Clone Wars, and now watches the films themselves repetitively, though she favours three strongly: Star Wars (A New Hope), Return of the Jedi, and The Phantom Menace. After reading Will Brooker's excellent BFI Classic essay on Star Wars, which made the prequel trilogy seem a lot more interesting and thoughtfully constructed, I've been thinking about the films as well as enjoying the elements of spectacle and world-creation again (and again and again).

I was also sent, by a good friend (thankyou Andy), an omnibus edition of the Marvel Star Wars comics that were produced from 1977 to 1986, in monthly format in the USA and in weekly editions in the UK. The early episodes, including a multi-part comic book adaptation of Star Wars itself, was drawn by Howard Chaykin, who would have a notable later career as a writer/artist on titles such as American Flagg!.

What primarily stru…

Available Publications | University Of Chester

Meanwhile, available now, a collection of essays on screen adaptation, edited by myself (and containing an essay by me on the adaptation of PKD's 'The Minority Report'):

Available Publications | University Of Chester

After the hiatus

So much for new beginnings. After I started this new blog, which was meant to accompany a period of study leave, myself and my daughter succumbed to what seemed like months of low-level illnesses, infections, and so on, which meant all my plans came to nought. And then back to work in April, and exam season, which for me is a descent into the maelstrom...

But I have returned!

Planned or possible upcoming posts:

Anna Kavan
Christine Brooke-Rose
James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon)
Hunter S. Thompson (as science fiction)
SF and music (dub, space-rock, Afrofuturism, electronic/ scanning, the android, Krautrock)

and more...

Check back shortly.