Archive for July 2020

Progressive’s “Motaur: Gym” Commercial…

July 21, 2020

 

There are advantages to being a cybernetic organism.  In addition to being extremely cool, it’s awfully easy to exercise when your lower body machine components are those of a motorcycle; just roll onto a treadmill, and you’re off to the races!  You can even multi-task while you’re on a roll by reading a book.  That’s right, our Progressive motaur isn’t just a pretty face getting his laps in, he’s improving his mind!  We can all learn from this…

In our latest Progressive commercial, as our motaur hums along, he’s approached by a gym rat who tries to remind our man-machine that there’s a thirty-minute limit on the treadmill.  “Tell that to the rain,” counters our motorcycle/man in a fashion which reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Tell it to the hand” line from Terminator 2.  Would you care to argue with a cyborg?  No, I didn’t think so.  Our motaur sets the treadmill faster several times during the commercial, and calmly continues both his reading and his ride… 

Geico’s “Moving House Thing” Commercial

July 13, 2020


Turtles have made inroads into televised advertising, as seen before in a number of episodes of Comcast’s “Slowskys” depicting a turtle family with their technologically-hip son.  Now Progressive insurance has also brought us an anthropomorphic father-and-son turtle duo, who we are shown sunning themselves on a rock overlooking a camper park.  In the near background sits a large motorized camper which piques the younger turtle’s curiosity, prompting him to ask his father about the “moving house thing.”

Turtle-Dad responds that it’s a motor home, a modern invention, to which Junior replies that they’ve carried their houses around with them for “like forever!”   Turtle-Dad chuckles, and then responds that the humans have Geico to cover them if anything goes wrong.  “What could go wrong?,” wonders Junior out loud when a feather drifts down from above.  “Ooh, a feather!” exclaims Junior with child-like wonder.  Looking upwards, Turtle-Dad discerns a vulture sitting in the tree above them.  “Duck, Junior!,” he alerts his son.  Now sharing in the alarm, Junior qualifies his Dad’s response, correcting “That’s no duck, Daddy…that’s a vulture!”

The humans are clueless non-participants in the drama unfolding before them, but I doubt they’d be thrilled to see vultures roosting near their camper; perhaps a Stephen King-esque horror movie is about to begin here.  The turtles as they retreat into their shells will hopefully live to see another day.  They have warm and wonderful human-like eyes and expressions, and make a nice addition to the Geico advertising animal stable that memorably includes an office camel thrilled to see “hump day” arrive…

 

(…tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

The Feline Furries of Star Trek…

July 7, 2020

 

There are furries in the Star Trek universe, cat-people who were introduced with the character of  M’Ress in Star Trek:  The Animated Series in the 1970’s.  A lieutenant and operations officer, she was a felinoid-type alien of the Caitian species modeled after African lions, and included originally with the cast to make the series more friendly and attractive to young children.  While the artwork is stylized and somewhat minimal, it established the species well, and M’Ress remains a most attractive and intriguing lady, even if she does have a habit of purring or murring after every few lines of dialogue…

Caitians have also appeared briefly a handful of other times in the Star Trek universe, at times depicted with more feline characteristics than others.  In Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home, two Caitian males, completely fur-covered, were depicted as members of the Federation Council.   This depiction of the species is far more formidable, almost with a Klingon-type vibe.  One imagines that these cats could play rough…

In Star Trek:  Into Darkness, a young James T. Kirk was depicted romping in bed with two females generally regarded to be Caitians who had bare skin(?), but prominent moving tails.  I don’t know if these Caitians practiced full body shaving, represented a hybrid, or if it was just considered too disturbing to represent human-furry sex on the big screen.  Kirk, of course, is legendary for having had intimate relations with any number of female aliens, and a discussion of his libido and sexual conquests would consume far more space than we have here… 

In Star Trek:  Online, Caitians are playable characters, and I personally  like their more serious depiction.  The majesty and power of felines really shines through here, and I’d be proud to serve on board with any of them…

 

In a new upcoming animated series to debut in August 2020 titled Star Trek:  Lower Decks, we will again see a Caitian in the person of Dr. T’Ana, ship’s physician to one of the least important vessels in Starfleet, the USS Cerritos.  I’ve heard her described as Dr. Pulaski in feline form.  Lower Decks is billed as an adult comedy, although it will supposedly still deal with some serious science fiction themes and issues.  Detailing the exploits of junior support officers on the Cerritos, the series will debut in August 2020 on the CBS All-Access network…

 

So there you have it…a species depicted in different ways, from ‘toonish to sex-kitten, to impressive and formidable.  You can choose your preferred incarnation, I suppose, and I eagerly anticipate further expansion of the species in future developments of the Star Trek universe…

 

Progressive’s Motaur “Herd” Commercial…

July 3, 2020

 
Apparently, there are others of his kind…Terrence Terrell’s Motaur, that is!  We had previously seen Progressive’s unlikely motorcycle insurance icon in 2019 as a solitary bio-mechanical being appearing to wondering young humans at an isolated gas station.  In the latest commercial, our Motaur appears with a fully-human companion on a mesa, observing with binoculars at some distance a herd of other Motaurs milling about before them.

As his companion babbles about how amazing it is to see them in the wild, he is shushed by our familiar Motaur who just wishes to become lost in the moment…then we hear motor sounds of the dirt-biking Motaur herd, buzzing about like angry hornets.  They individually do wheelies, accelerate, and bound over the terrain.  Terrence Terrell then raises his front wheel in a salute to his “people.

Viewers may find the commercial cool, creepy, or incomprehensible but it celebrates the close bond between many bikers and their “rides.”  I worry that perhaps these cyborgs have something to do with Skynet, soon to be followed by an imposing black leather-jacketed guy with sunglasses and an Austrian accent. Perhaps we really don’t have to be afraid of the Motaurs as those seen in the field appear strangely generic and not especially menacing…and hey, wouldn’t Don’t Fear the Motaurs be a great comeback song for Blue Oyster Cult?  Bio-mechanical beings just wanna have fun, after all, although if their herd passes through my neighborhood noise ordinances may need to be deployed.

The recurrence of Motaurs continues to pose unanswered and troubling questions for me.  Do they both eat and gas up, or is one act sufficient?  Do they see both doctors and mechanics?   How do they sleep, or do they? Are Motaurs born, assembled, or somehow pieced together in some kind of unspeakable Borg-type lab?  Is there a cross-over into the Transformer world, or would Motaurs be their rivals if not enemies? Do Motaurs reproduce, breed only with their own, and if so, how (now there’s a disquieting thought!)?  Anyhow, untold stories reside here, and inquiring minds want to know…

 

 

“A Quiet Place” Has It All…

July 1, 2020

In this time of the pandemic, it’s perhaps understandable that many of us would be drawn to apocalyptic fiction and cinema, and A Quiet Place (2018) is one of the best done and most striking films to emerge in this gendre in recent years.  It’s edge of the seat horror and  science fiction that blends elements reminiscent of the Alien, Cloverfield, and Walking Dead franchises, depicting humanity overwhelmed by vicious and powerful aliens who are blind, but hunt very effectively by sound.  Human survivors of this meteor-borne invasion are therefore forced to live furtive and hidden existences, avoiding the generation of sound, and communicating by sign language.  As a result, there is little spoken dialogue in the film, although captioned subtitles appear to translate the signing to the audience.

As for the aliens depicted in Quiet Place, they are neither warm and friendly nor possessed of high technology; they simply want to eat you, and are well-equipped to do so, possessed of clawed extremities and impressive dentition.  There is no evidence of higher cognition here, but rather animal cunning.  In appearance, they are somewhat insectile or bat-like, possessed of an armored exoskeleton of sorts and ambulating briskly on all fours but capable of rearing up on hind legs at which times they can appear disturbingly humanoid.  They use echolocation, and might not be able to perceive you as prey from several feet away if you are perfectly still and quiet.  Their auditory aurifaces when open dwarf any human ears…

Although a horror movie, A Quiet Place is of the rare type of horror movie with heart, as a family and its relationships is at the center of it.  There are unpleasant things to see such as the death of a child family member, but it’s handled non-graphically; a blur of motion, and he’s carried off.  The tension conveyed in the film, however, is almost palpable.  The survivalist husband and father (John Kasinski) and his wife (Emily Blunt) are rock-solid, and their  eldest child (Millicent Simmonds), a gifted young hearing impaired actress, projects a wonderful adaptive kind of Wednesday Addams darkness; she adapts and prevails.  The surviving female family members left standing at the end of the film are more than the equal of the vicious monsters headed their way, kind of like Ripley and Newt in a farmland showdown.  Catch A Quiet Place if like myself you enjoy intelligent innovative horror with heart…