Archive for the ‘sci fi’ category

“Colonel RoboCop” Commercials…

March 4, 2019

In the increasingly bizarro-world in which we live where entertainment and merchandising blend, it is perhaps fitting that we see KFC’s iconic spokesman Colonel Sanders morph into RoboCop, who in a series of new commercials has been given the mission of protecting the franchises “secret blend” of 11 herbs and spices.  Voiced by the original movie RoboCop Peter Weller, the blend of man and machine is disturbingly perfect, complete with elements of the Colonel’s trademark hair, tie, and white suit.

In one of the commercial spots, the Colonel is plied at a dinner gathering for his secret KFC recipe.  “If I told you, then I’d have to kill you,” replies the cybernetic Colonel, interrupting the awkward silence which follows with a repeated weird mechanical laugh.  The Colonel makes a persuasive argument for consuming the product while respecting the secrecy of the recipe that we ignore at our own peril.  Consume, and do not question…or else!  

Perhaps a world of corporate wars is coming, one in which Colonel Robocop takes on Ronald “Terminator” McDonald, or the Mayhem guy is in an iron cage match with Progressive’s Flo.  These tales are waiting to be written… *shudders*

“Better Butterfinger” Commercial…

February 14, 2019


The Butterfinger brand has been bought out from Nestle by Ferrero, who have amped up the brand and its slogan with an alien presence in a new commercial.  The trademark admonition that “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger” has been said by many over the years, including Bart Simpson.  Last uttered in 2012, the slogan has now been updated to “Nobody lays a finger on my better Butterfinger!

In the frenetic ad, a yellow and blue alien (Butterfinger colors) escapes from a lab, helps himself to a dusty Corvette, and goes on a thrill ride with a hitchhiker he picks up who happens to be selling alien T-shirts!  The wild ride ends with the alien using his telekinetic powers to help himself to a Butterfinger bar, after which he proclaims the revised slogan.  

I saw this commercial for the first time after watching a recording of a Project Bluebook episode, and then seeing LaToya Jackson revealed as the Alien character on S1/Ep7 of The Masked Singer.  I think that the powers that be are trying to tell me something…

(Tip o’ the pen to Cary Comic for the idea for this post!)

  

“Project Blue Book” A Winner!

January 17, 2019



Think of a real-life X-Files series set in the 1950’s, and you’ve got the gist of what this ten episode dramatic series on The History Channel is like…and boy, did they get the period atmosphere and flavor right, down to the home decor and guys going everywhere in hats!  In addition to careful and authentic detail, there is superb acting and engaging scripts based on actual Project Blue Book investigations.  Aidan Gillen known for Game of Thrones gives a wonderful characterization of J. Allen Hynek, a brilliant but underappreciated professor called in by the government basically to put cases to rest but finding that science can’t explain everything away. He is pressured by his assigned partner Air Force Captain Michael Quinn (Michael Malarkey) who in turn is pressured by military higher-ups to produce the desired investigation outcomes.  It’s all there, including shadowy “Men in Black” figures lurking in the background, and glimpses of a UFO hidden in a government hanger.  

Episode 2 concerned an investigation of The Flatwoods Monster, a close encounter of the third kind which occurred in West Virginia in 1952 and about which I blogged here way back in 2010.  The incident was previously highlighted in an episode of the late great series, MonsterQuest.  Anyways, in this Project Blue Book treatment Dr. Hynek explains away the alien sightings as being of an owl up in a tree so as to appear ten feet tall, but is beginning to doubt his own explanations as the episode ends and he is hustled off the case.  Future episodes will probably depict the continuing evolution of the character, and I look forward to seeing it, commending the series for your viewing…

 

Jonesy’s Tale…

October 24, 2018



In the original 1979 classic science fiction movie Alien, officer Ellen Ripley and the ship’s cat, Jonesy, are the soul survivors of the cargo ship Nostromo when it comes under attack by a vicious predatory life form genetically engineered by another race. Jones the cat is left safely behind in the movie sequel Aliens when his mistress goes off to fight xenomorph hordes with space marines, presumably living out a more mundane existence.  

Ellen Ripley’s strong and resourceful character appears in two sequels to the original movie, with her clone appearing in yet another.  Now the enduring cat gets to tell his own story from the feline perspective in an 80-page illustrated book, Jonesy:  Nine Lives on the Nostromo.  More a graphic novel than a children’s book, the beloved fan-favorite cat in Rory Lucey’s book does not actively work with Ripley to defeat the alien but remains true to his species, displaying normal and at times disconcertingly humorous feline behavior throughout.  

In the movie, Jonesy at times perceives danger before his human shipmates do, a key to his survival in the face of an alpha predator.  In one brief although memorable scene, the crated cat and the alien simply regard one another through the carrier screen, each perhaps possessed of a mutual curiosity about the other before Ripley and the creature resume their fight to the death.  Ripley’s formidable protectiveness extends to the cat in the same way that it would later extend to the child Newt in the movie sequel.

Published earlier this year by Titan Books, Jonesy is a purr-fect find for fans of the series, and cat lovers in general…

 

 

Godzilla vs. Kong!

June 12, 2018


Deep inside me, there abides a ten-year-old fox-boy who never grew up.  For that reason, I can still get excited about a Godzilla vs. King Kong remake, even though it will have been 58 years since a movie bore that title.  Hopefully the special effects will have improved significantly in that time interval.  Just don’t get your popcorn out yet or try to buy movie passes; Godzilla vs. Kong isn’t slated to arrive until May of 2020…

For what is sure to be an epic addition to the MonsterVerse, the film director promises a dark film in which there will be a clear winner!  That’s right, no ambiguous ending for once.  Kong, last seen in Skull Island set in the 1970’s, will have weathered the intervening decades by becoming older, battle-scarred, and bigger. His size will accordingly be more of a match for the redoubtable Godzilla, my personal fave.  I’m sure that there will be an abundance of fires, explosions, and destruction of real estate…look, they’re lowering property values!  Perhaps the battling behemoths can level Trump Tower…

 

“We Are Gone,” The Terror, Episode 10

May 22, 2018

All good things must come to an end, and so The Terror wrapped up its tenth and final season episode (“We Are Gone”) with more than a bit of Grand Guignol, complete with cannibalism and the Tuunbaq ripping into Hickey and his rebellious men, literally tearing the sadistic psychopath in two before succumbing to its poisonous diet. You are what you eat, after all…

We were given more of a close-up of the Inuit monster in this conclusive episode, his countenance a disturbing mixture of human and bestial elements, almost resembling someone’s crazy old uncle; maybe Uncle Fester of The Addams Family. A “spirit who dresses itself as an animal,” the mythological creature was said to consume not only the flesh but also the soul of its victims. 

Where human flesh eating was concerned, there are suggestions in the historical evidence that some cannibalism occurred in the actual Franklin Expedition, although it was ramped up for horrific effect in the Dan Simmons novel as well as the series adaptation of it. In this television adaptation, surgeon Goodsir poisoned himself unknown to his captors and slit his wrists, his body then becoming a fatal feast for them. Other subtle differences between the book and the screen adaptation occurred as well, and without issuing spoilers I did find the novel’s ending more satisfying. If you were captivated by the televised series, check out the book as well as a really well done and worthwhile horror tale…

“Terror Camp Clear” Episode of “The Terror”

May 8, 2018

With all hell breaking loose both within and without on episode 8 of The Terror, Captain Fitzjames unleashed a rocket on the rampaging Tuunbaq running amok in their camp, hitting the over-sized, long-necked polar bear-like creature a good shot but basically just changing its course.  This was a very cool use of retro technology, and Fitzjames looked good while deploying it, showing courage under extreme duress.  Mid-19th century weaponry just wasn’t up to the job, sadly…

The climatic battle scene followed an episode fueled by paranoia and rebellion in which seaman Hickey almost staged a successful mutiny after blaming his slaughter of two crew mates on an Inuit family who were then killed in reprisal by the Erebus/Terror crews.  Hickey then whipped the camp into a frenzy by rumors that an Inuit counter-attack was imminent, using it as justification to seize arms and distribute them among his followers.  When Hickey’s ruse was discovered and countered, we were fixing to see a hanging when a cocaine-addled crewman Collins posed a distraction, staggering in and closely followed by the Tuunbaq monster, who was either irate that natives had been killed or was uncontrolled by the departure of the shaman-like Lady Silence.

Anyways, Hickey escaped in the confusion of the Tuunbaq’s killing spree together with sympathizers and captives, and in alienating the Inuit population the expedition’s members have lost their best remaining chance of survival. With their bodies becoming covered with loathsome sores from scurvy and lead poisoning, things will continue to go downhill from here in the two episodes remaining of The Terror