Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day: How Robby the Robot Changed My Outlook

I don't hate Valentine's day, it's just that for me the occasion has only led to midnight trysts with a bag of candy hearts that I always regret the next morning. 

Cut to two days ago.

I'm in a room full of students discussing the science fiction conventions of Forbidden Planet, which I have never seen before. I've never had much interest in the genre but even I can't deny the hilarity of a robot joking about getting an oil job or the great camera work when "the monster" starts terrorizing the crew.

An interesting point is brought up. In the film the romance seems completely contrived and rushed. Then again when you and your men have been locked up in hyperspace for 378 days...I suppose that's reason enough. We'll tear apart the interpersonal dynamics, yet have no problem believing that humans can travel faster than the speed of light or, you know, that Anne Francis can talk to deer. This is totally ok.

And that's when I finally started to understand what's so wonderful about science fiction films. I've always thought that to enjoy science fiction you had to... enjoy science. But what makes it so wonderful is the fact that, because it deals with some unknown element, the viewer is freed from convention. We know hokey romance when we see it but give us some subatomic ray guns and baby we go to town. It's a genre that celebrates imagination, man's ability to reach out and accept the unknown.

Now, instead of drowning my slight loneliness in sugar from year to year, I'm going to look up at the night sky and imagine that the Colin Firth of Planet X is staring back at me.

Anything is possible, right?

I don't have to pay Hallmark any money to look at the stars and enjoy the romance and poetry of an ever unfolding story.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I haven't decided what exactly I will be doing with this space, but that's precisely the point. I'm remaining open to any possibility. Because my life revolves around film I'm sure that will play a huge part, but I have a varied set of interests and I want this blog to reflect that.

(photo credit and rights reserved to the wisconsin historical society)