Dec 272007

Dune Messiah Book Cover

Frank Herbert continues his epic saga with Dune Messiah. Paul “Muad’Dib” Atreides has been Emperor for 12 years following the ending of the first novel when he took over. He has become a god figure, messiah, to the Fremen, which have ravaged the galaxy spreading their religion to countless worlds. Paul has not been able to prevent the jihad, but has been able to control it in a way.

I never wanted to be a god, he thought. I wanted only to disappear like a jewel of trace dew caught in the morning. I wanted to escape the angles and the damned—alone … as though by an oversight.

Princess Irulan continues to compile her histories, denied the physical attention of Paul. Chani and Paul have tried to conceive and heir, but have yet to be successful. It turns out that Irulan has been slipping a contraceptive into Chani’s food, hoping that Paul will give up and produce an heir with herself. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Dec 182007

Blade Runner Director's Cut 1997 DVD Cover

Today marks the release of Blade Runner – The Final Cut, directed by Ridley Scott. Blade Runner is loosely based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Phillip K. Dick. Blade Runner has been one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies since I saw the original Director’s Cut at a friend’s house while in high school. He and his brother insisted that it was the only version worth watching. Consequently, I have never seen the original theatrical release with the happy ending and Deckard’s voiceover narration. From what I’ve read, the studio executives were the main influence for those changes.

To commemorate the release of The Final Cut, which I hope to review sometime soon, I will share my thoughts on the Director’s Cut DVD released back in 1997. I had only seen Blade Runner on VHS back in 1995, and was anxious to see it in the higher resolution and sound quality that DVD had to offer. The video is of poor resolution and visibly shakes slightly, which is annoying. The soundtrack is in just 2 channels, failing to utilize the 5.1 Dolby Digital that DVD offered. I’ve watched it several times over on DVD, and again this weekend, and every time the poor transfer sticks out like a sore thumb. This was one of the first DVD releases, so was barebones with no extra features other than a chapter selection. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Dec 102007

Starship Troopers (1997)

I will first review Starship Troopers directed by Paul Verhoeven as a movie, then compare how it stands up against the novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein. The Hollywood movie opens up with some political propaganda films trying to get the public to join the Mobile Infantry, saying “Service guarantees citizenship.” Various soldiers are shown saying “I’m doing my part!” then the camera zooms in on a little kid in uniform saying “I’m doing my part too!” The only way to earn the right to vote and become a full citizen is to join the military for a term of service.

The movie’s premise is that Earth is under attack by aliens from Klendathu. This is described through a series of TV style news clips. The “Bugs,” or “Arachnids,” are hurling meteors at Earth, which have been intercepted for the most part by the space Navy. The obvious solution to Earth’s survival is the extermination of the aliens. The scene jumps to some news coverage on the Arachnid home world of Klendathu during a huge battle. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Dec 082007

I recently ran across this interesting video during one of my many sessions with StumbleUpon. The video via GeeksAreSexy (shown after the “more”) demonstrates a guy in a robotic exoskeleton performing a variety of tasks to demonstrate the strength of the device. This was a weird coincidence because I was in the process of reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. His Mobile Infantry armor was much more elaborate, but I’m always interested when things from science fiction start to become science fact. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Dec 082007

Blade Runner the Final Cut

I’ve heard rumors of this “Final Cut” of Blade Runner for years. Blade Runner was one of the first movies released on DVD, but was such poor quality I was extremely disappointed. It is definitely one of my favorite movies, and felt a bit cheated that the transfer was so poor. The picture was grainy and the soundtrack was only in Dolby 2.0, not even 5.1 surround sound which was the main advantage to DVD (besides increased resolution) at the time. I’ve been meaning to review the original Director’s Cut DVD (without Rick Deckard’s narration and the happy ending) but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I’m glad to see that Blade Runner is finally getting the love and care it deserves. I have only seen the Director’s Cut, and have watched just a few scenes of the theatrical release with the narration on cable from time to time. I’m excited to see all of the different versions offered together. There are 3 different releases announced with a variety of alternate cuts of the movie. There is a 2 disc Special Editionamazon link, 4 disc Collector’s Editionamazon link, and 5 disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVDamazon link, HD-DVDamazon link, Blu-rayamazon link). I plan on getting the 4 disc DVD version and reviewing it here in the near future. Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD 5 disc versions are available without the “Ultimate” briefcase for a lower price, but for some reason that option isn’t available for DVD. Don’t miss this release, check out all of the pre-order options (there are MANY) that are available on Amazonamazon link.

Posted by Stettin
Dec 072007

Starship Troopers book cover

The 1959 novel Starship Troopers is a military-based science fiction novel which won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1960. Robert A. Heinlein clearly draws from his previous military experience to describe the career of Juan “Johnny” Rico as he works his way up from a fresh recruit to 2nd Lieutenant in the Terran Federation military during the “Bug War”.

The story is told through a series of flashbacks narrated by Rico, intertwined between these are obvious commentaries on discipline, politics, and human behavior. Heinlein’s concepts, specifically mechanical armor, influenced science fiction in various realms ranging from other novels to games, and even spawned a Hollywood motion picture. I’ve seen the movie Starship Troopers (1997) before, and will watch it again soon, so keep an eye out for that review. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Dec 062007

I am always amazed that the developments in robotics that are happening in my lifetime. I wish that Isaac Asimov had lived just a bit longer so he could see what the industry is producing today. Sarcos has made the prototype, which is under development in Japan. This robot can recover from pushes intended to topple it over. I’m sure a lot of you have seen the video of the ASIMO robot falling down some simple steps. This new robot with flexible joints and advanced balancing system appears to be the next generation of humanoid robots. For more information, including a video demonstration, check out the full article at NewScientistTech. Found via SlashDot

Posted by Stettin
Dec 042007

Dune Miniseries

Overall, the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries is far more faithful to Frank Herbert’s vision for Dune than the 1984 movie. With a run time of almost 4.5 hours (6 when viewed with commercials), most of the major plot elements are covered. The events are laid out much like the novel, and don’t feel rushed like the 1984 movie. With that said, the miniseries does have a few faults, most of which can be forgiven. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin

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