A Hug For Star Wars

The Pre-schooler woke up with an agenda this morning.

“Dad, how big am I?” he asked, innocently, while we were getting him dressed for daycare.

“About this big,” I said, holding my hand up to his forehead.

“Big enough to watch Star Wars?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. He’d been watching the Clone Wars and Rebels, and we’d been talking about finally watching The Six Movies, so the question wasn’t a big surprise. “We can start this weekend.”

“Why not this morning?”

“I want to watch them with you.”

He gave me that pleading crooked smile and eyebrow-raise he absolutely did not pick up from me, I swear. “Please… just a little.”

“Oh, all right,” I said with a smile, pulling out my phone.

He waited, all smiles, while I pulled up Phantom Menace and started it. I read the opening scrawl out for him, and we watched, sitting on the floor, side by side, eyes fixed on the tiny screen.

“Okay, kiddo,” I said after five minutes, shutting it off. “Time for daycare.”

I was expecting a why-was-the-video-turned-off tantrum. What I got was, he stood up and asked all serious, “Can I give you a hug?”

“Of course you can.”

He hugged me tight and said, “This is for my first time watching Star Wars.”

My heart just melted. How could it not?

Thank you, Star Wars.

Prof X Played Krakoa All Wrong

So I walk into the dining area and see that the Preschooler has lined up his Lego Imperials out on the table, and is lording over them with Iron Man and Hulk. I ask him what’s going on, and he says Professor X had Iron Man and Hulk deliver a batch of evil mutants to Krakoa, for imprisonment. I patted his head condescendingly and went into the kitchen for a Mexican Coke.

But it does beg a question, doesn’t it?

Instead of going to all the trouble of recruiting the new X-Men, why didn’t Professor X try and trick Magneto and his allies into swinging by Krakoa? It would have been a perfect prison for them and any other evil mutants who popped up later. And all at the small cost of the first team of X-Men (not to mention it would have spared the lives of that second team of X-Men Baldy recruited who managed to only free Cyclops before getting themselves killed.)

And they say Professor X is smart. Pfft.

Thoughts on Jodorowsky’s Dune

If you haven’t seen the new documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune, do yourself a favor and seek it out. It chronicles an ill-fated attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky to bring his vision of Dune to the screen around 1974. And I do mean his vision, as the screenplay (no, scratch that, it was literally just a book of storyboards) counts among its weird changes from the Herbert source Lady Jessica impregnating herself with Duke Leto’s blood (he was a castrato) to give birth to Paul, and an ending where Paul is killed but not before his consciousness transfers to everyone else on Arrakis, as well as Arrakis itself, which then goes flying off into the universe to spread cosmic awareness.

It would have been a hell of a movie I gladly would have paid cash to see, but alas, Jodorowsky and his French producer apparently didn’t realize Hollywood will not suffer an artiste — well, not for a projected budget of upwards of $15 million, anyway. The documentary paints a sympathetic picture of Jodorowsky’s ambition, and you really feel his passion for the project, and his pain when it collapsed after two years of blood and sweat.

The documentary goes into the team Jodorowsky assembles — Dan O’Bannon, Moebius, Chris Foss, H.R.Giger — and ends by arguing that modern sci-fi film owes a huge debt to Jodorowsky’s effort. Maybe. Most of the films they cited would have been made without Dune, and whether or not they were influenced by Moebius’ storyboards is debatable. But credit where credit is due, the one film series that does owe its existence to Jodorowsky’s Dune is of course, Alien — Dan O’Bannon co-wrote Alien after Dune’s collapse torpedoed him financially and emotionally, and he was the guy who brought Giger to Ridley Scott’s attention.

But what went unremarked on in the documentary when it should have been the main point, in my opinion, was that if Jodorowsky’s Dune had actually been made, it would likely have killed the sci-fi film Golden Age we live in now before it even got started.

Let’s slip in to an alternate universe where it somehow got made: Too visionary and too out-there for mainstream audiences in 1974 (or 2014 for that matter), it was indeed an art-house critical success, but it bombed horribly at the box office, offending fans of the source material, and confusing the general sci-fi community. And at a budget of $30 million down the crapper (of course it ran over budget!), studios refused to green-light another expensive sci-fi film for decades. Which meant Lucas never got Fox to bite on Star Wars. And without Star Wars’ success proving to the heartless, bean-counting studio execs that sci-fi could make money, there was never one Alien, let alone, what is it now, 37? Close Encounters? Nope, never filmed. Star Trek as a movie franchise? What are you smoking? No Last Starfighter. No E.T.. No Predator. No Blade Runner. And on TV, no Star Wars meant Glen Larson had nothing to rip off for Battlestar Galactica… and nothing for Ron Moore to re-imagine (which, considering how badly the final two seasons sucked, may not have been entirely a bad thing, I guess, so at least there’s that silver lining, right?). No Sci-Fi Channel, no Farscape. No Stargate. And the Matrix? That still got made, but it was a comedy. Starring Steve Gutenberg, who became the world’s top-grossing star for 17 years running on the success of the Police Academy movies, the second highest-grossing film series ever, right after Porky’s. Yes, Porky’s had twelve sequels, each making more than the last. Because without sci-fi to watch, all us nerds and geeks had nothing better to spend our entertainment dollars on than soft-core porn disguised as comedy.

I don’t know about you, but for me, that would have been the darkest timeline of all.

Someone Should Build These

In the 1940s, noted scuba diving enthusiast and bald science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke came up with the idea for the telecommunications satellite. Others took his idea and ran with it, culminating in today’s reality show saturated media universe.

In that tradition, I would like someone to run with this idea:

Socks that match themselves.

The socks would contain RFID tags that, when coupled with a sound-making device, would act as homing beacons to direct you via sonic cues to their matching counterpart. All you’d have to do to ensure your socks always match is pay a small child, or if you’re a cheap bastard, train a dog, to use one sock to track down the other.

It would also be great if the sonic cue was some sort of fart noise.