Klaatu Barada Nikto

14 12 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Stillwill live on in my mind as one of the first premiere science fiction movies to grace the silver screen. The total ambiance of classic soundtrack that unfolds creates such an eerie wave that transcends beyond the screen, beyond the galaxy perhaps. When that giant plaster of paras spaceship landed in the theatres in 1951, the children in the audience gasped at the alien cruiser. I know, I wasn’t there, but my grandfather was. He said it was just about the greatest special effects he had ever seen in movies at that time. And when the giant robot(Gort) opens his visor and begins to disintegrate the rifles, I couldn’t help but think how incredibly frightening the whole ordeal must been like to those children of the 50’s who had never seen anything remotely like the classic Sci-Fi with Klaatu (Micheal Rennie) emerging through smoke from his ship.

The entire movie wavered on a specific message to save the Earth, or we are in fact doomed to destroy it. It was a powerful underlying message of Klaatu who believed us just to be caretakers of this vast planet. Only one planet we know can sustain life, but if we don’t protect it, Klaatu and his galactic federation sure as hell will.

The story line wavers a little at first. Klaatu attempts to blend in with the humans to get their take why they should survive. Nothing like an extraterrestrial sitting at home with the family discussing things like the value of life and love. But as soon as his robot guardian awakens then things get interesting.

Gort the robot is incredible, he shambles along in this giant “rubber-like” outfit and stands at least 10 feet tall. I say shamble and I’ll put that lightly, he really stumbles around like some town drunkard in an old Irish novel. Nothing  too freightning from him, rather comical. The only menacing thing is his wandering “eyes” which fire lasers to protect Klaatu and stop all who continue to be violent in his presence.

My grandfather attested, saying he never seen anything remotely like it before. Revisiting the classic, I can only recall paragraphs from Asimov describing facets from the  ship’s walls which seamlessly move to reveal other compartments of the ship.Everyone in the movie theatres was silent during the scenes with the ominous Gort. But there was nothing quite like that at least 50 years ago.

The end leaves little to be desired but gives us a simple warning, this planet is up for grabs if we don’t take care of it. The human race is expandable, to bad most humans feel that way anyway.

I’m sitting with my grandfather at a movie he saw at least 50 years earlier. I went to the remake of the classic today and let me just say, the movie’s CGI(Computer-generated-graphics) were incredible. I had to see the movie in IMAX to get the full effect, but the movie was simply riveting, with so many great scenes it was a testament to how far Science Fiction has evolved in society since the 50’s.


Klaatu is played brilliantly by Keenu Reeves(Klaatu/Keenu!?!) The man is so detached from reality, when he’s in these character-driven roles he’s fantastic. That’s why they give him these roles in Sci-Fi , ie Matrix and Constantine. His method of acting is to really have no method. He just seems so withdrawn from reality you can believe he can be almost anyone or anything for that matter. He just embodies his characters and chooses these great roles that won’t win him any Oscars , just make him an extremely high-paid, well known actor with timeless roles like Ted from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (How’s it going royal ugly dude?).

Gort is a blast from the past, the CGI effects to make this bad boy were phenomenal. He just dominates the screen with his ominous presence and “eyes” just watching you.He’s at least a couple stories high this time, with a darker more metallic quality to him. They send wave after wave of jet fighters armed to the teeth with sidewinder missiles at him but this robot is relentless, he is all four horseman wrapped in a alien metallic casing. Also this old dog has some new tricks of his own,but I won’t revel them to you but let me just say, they only add to his status as harbinger of the Apocalypse.

So if your a fan of Sci-Fi, or just a fan of movies in general you must witness this testament which has stood the test of time, and has been revamped and re-infused with the greatest in special effects with a some very good acting by Keenu and Jennifer Connolly who graces the screen. The original is a timeless adventure in the Science Fiction genre.

So let’s go back and break down the time line. At least 50 years ago my grandfather watched in fear of Klaatu and his robot companion on the screen. This year I witnessed some spectacular CGIand a great retelling of an incredible Sci-Fi Classic. 5o years from now when I’m with my grandchildren, will I partake in the actual “movie”? I will stand on the outskirts of Washington D.C or Central Park as Gort, as real to me as the army platoons he vaporizes with insidious laser eyes, destroys the entire military, as my grandchildren shriek spilling their popcorn staring at this ominous holo-projection which is glaring back at them; watching at least a foot or two away.


Sony Phones Home

1 12 2008


I was fortunate enough to be able to access the beta for Sony’s program Home. An online massive multiplayer experience very similar in the fashion of Second Life. The program has incredible features that rival any online community. The Nintendo Wii for instance have chibi (anime-like) avatars who would only capture a brief glimpse of your character but it presents a wider generalization of your persona.Xbox and Sony opted for more detailed avatars. These avatars were the first things that struck me when I entered the game. Highly customizable avatars which start off with presets that fit many different flavors and styles to  fit your personalizing needs. You’ll notice there is a whole array of footwear,jewelery,hats, and various apparel that will be made available. I’m almost positive the game will feature some kind of online currency, to purchase all those “essential” needs for you avatar like a phone that matches your new shoes or what-not.

So you start off with your own beautiful plot of virtual space, a studio apartment right next to a harbor . You can customize all of your furniture add couches and chairs, but like I said, the variety of the items will cost you in the future. But the real joy is going outside to visit the Home community.

Out in the central plaza you will meet the majority of people walking aimlessly typing and talking through there Blu-tooth headsets. Your avatar will respond to character and can easily interact with the passerby with simple gestures or greetings. All around you find various posters and video screens constantly playing game trailers which is pure marketing genius.

At the local bar you can bowl with a friend or shoot some pool. You can play checkers at the mall and simple games at the arcade. The pool physics are a little difficult to grasp,but the arcade games are rather simple and addictive.Bowling is great with a group of friends. There is something highly amusing like walking over to a techno streaming from your speaker at a rave dance party with your avatar and then breaking out the robot or the worm, which leads to the creation of clubs.

Clubs are offered at first for free, but this will be changed when the game is released. The club offers players there own little slice of customization and such, similarly to the sandboxes of Second Life. They even offer similar building tools with boxes which will be customized in shape and diameter in  the future, but are now inaccessible. The placing of furniture and appliances is simple enough as pointing placing and clicking. But the real thrill is from organizing an actual club with a message board and your own music streaming twith bubble machines only adding to this surreal virtual reality.

Home is going to be a huge endeavor for Sony. Bringing together a whole online community where you can virtually access your buddy list and invite friends to play in a match, or watch streaming videos of Navy seals playing SOCOM, this is truly riveting technology. Almost in comparison to one of my favorite animes Ghost in the Shell, directed by Mamoru Oshii. Everyone will be linked to computers, playing out there entire lives as virtual avatars and humanoids, forever leaving reality for the escape of the Digital Dawn.