Thursday, May 15, 2008

Solyent Green

Last night was a good night on the Turner Classic Movies channel in Singapore. I switched over to the channel just in time for Solyent Green, which was later followed by Westworld and Forbidden Planet and The Invisible Boy. I planned to watch the first two, but not the last (because I have the DVD of those). As it turned out, I got interrupted just as Westworld was beginning, so only got to see Solyent Green last night.

I enjoyed watching the 1973 Charlton Heston action sci-fi flick. It has plenty in it that might not be appreciated by contemporary audiences, but I think the slower pace allows for a more nuanced film than most of today's movies. There are several montages that are absolutely beautiful.

The "mystery" that Thorn is trying to unravel becomes obvious early on, I think. It is clear what is going into making up the new food source that people in 2022 are supposed to be living on. As others have pointed out, the revelation might would have been more shocking in its day. In more recent films, like The Matrix, the same device has been used to a very different effect.

I think the dystopian film is quite well done, though I don't think Heston is particularly good. I do appreciate how the dystopian society is represented though, and feel that perhaps a part of the reason for the lack of sympathy we feel with Thorn is more because of that society than anything else.

Overall, I think Solyent Green is one of those must-see films for any real fan of science fiction on film. Watch out for it on all those channels that carry classic films. It is certain to show up on those from time to time.
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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sci Fi Channel Series: Tinman

I recently finished watching the Sci Fi Channel's series Tinman on DVD. I was impressed with the series overall, and found several of the actors especially pleasant. By the time the series ended, I found myself quite attached to DG and all those around her.

The series is set in the O.Z. (the Outer Zone), a land that DG finds she has to help save. It is inspired by The Wizard of Oz, and I found the connections throughout the series to be quite fun. It was amusing to see how the characters were brought to a new sort of life in this sci-fi world.

I first thought that this was planned as an ongoing series, but it seems now that it is more intended as a miniseries, a one-off sort of thing. I think that is good, because the way the whole is packaged now is just right. It begins well, progresses quite nicely, and then wraps it all up effectively. I think it is great that it looks like it is not going to be something that is dragged out beyond where it can effectively sustain the story. As it is, it is good, and is worth watching.

I hope the Sci Fi Channel comes up with more series like this. It's a good one, and I'd happily watch more things in this vein.

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