Star Wars episodes IV, V and VI [various dates]

“May the force be with you.”

So, obiously I’ve been very busy this weekend quarantining myself watching all the star wars episodes, except for episodes I, II and III which I refuse to watch because Jar Jar Binks is the most annoying character and I really don’t want to do that to myself. I thought about doing separate posts for each episode, but this trio can’t exist really without the other. I’m going to explain them like we don’t all know what star wars is:

A New Hope (episode IV)– Luke is a space farm boy who has never really known his parents and lives with his disco-lapel wearing Aunt and stern Uncle. He dreams of some day getting away and having a different life away from his dusty town. One day, his life changes when his Uncle buys two robots to help on the farm and discovers within one of them an ominous and intriguing message. Also in this land, apparently the laws of physics does not apply to anyone. Try as they might, no one seems able to land a shot on anyone. Also, there’s this strange gas that permeates all life and makes some people wearing robes capable of moving things with their mind, and also very good at space-fencing. In the end, they blow up a big ball in space, and the main characters all survive and get medals. HUZZAH!

Joking aside, love this film. CGI has dated but not so badly so I can imagine at the time this big budget film must have been shocking The action scenes seem really slow compared to modern day films which don’t give you a chance to process things properly, so I really did laugh a lot in one action scene which involved long shots of someone looking over their shoulder, someone looking left to right, some explosions and so on.

Empire Strikes Back (episode V) – The Rebels blew up Vader’s home, and now he is PISSED! He sends out little robot probes across the galaxy to try to find them. On rebel base, Luke nearly dies from hypothermia, and also being eaten by some sort of yeti and hears a voice (his old pal Ben) telling him to go to a swamp and do a workout montage with a robed swamp-frog, so he does. Han and co go to see an old friend of his called Lando, and they are captured; Han’s old debts catch up to him in the end, and he is made into some bronze plaque for a massive slug who he owes some money to. Meanwhile, during his training and despite pleas from the swamp-frog, Luke realises his friends might be in danger and leaves short of being able to do a prolonged handstand, which seems to be the ultimate aim of his training. After saving his mates, Luke has a fight with his dad and loses a hand. But it’s okay, because he gets a robot hand and all is well. Lando and Chewy leave to try to save Han, and the rebels prep for their biggest fight yet.

Return of the Jedi (episode VI) – The gang try to save Han and get captured in the process. Leia is made to wear a bikini and a chain attached to aforementioned slug who it turns out is a monster and probs a rapist. They end up getting free and Leia strangles the slug with a chain, which I think is the single most badass thing in this whole trilogy. Rebels hear that Vader and co are building another space ball, which this time has a protective shield so they plan to go to the nearby moon to switch the shield off. In the process, one of the robots gets seen as a deity by some sort of tribe of plush toys and they agree to accept the Rebels and help them. They manage to take down all of the stormtroopers and foe with remedial tools. Where’s your light saber now, huh punk!!? Luke goes to confront his dad and ask him Y U SO ANGRY. Some old frail dude tries to gode Luke and his dad into a fight for his entertainment and when Luke refuses, the old man shocks him with electricity! However, his dad intervenes and throws the old man down a well but dies in the process. The good guys defeat the bad guys, and Vaders spirit ascends to meet the swamp-frog and old man Ben.


Erm so I really love this trilogy. I watched it when I was a kid so I really wasn’t sure if I would like it but I found myself properly immersed in the story and by the end was blubbering to my partner that “he [Vader] just got lost is all, he just had to find his way home”. I loved that whilst the story throughout told of this black and white good v evil, we all know it is so much more complicated than that and that is portrayed well in the film. Also!! I studied music and one of the semesters was on Film Music so my class got to learn a lot about how people write for films and I remember in my studies I discovered that John Williams, in preparation for writing the score for the film had been told by the director he wanted this feeling that the characters were at sea so Williams actually stole little sections of music from a pirate film to get the same feel. It’s so interesting to me that this was the core intention of the director, because I can definitely feel it, like the Empire are the pirates in this and that the Rebels are some sort of swashbuckling dudes giving out justice. One of my friends, trying to gode me into an argument, told me Star Wars was a cowboy film and I guess that has some merit but pirate film is definitely more apt.

Anyways, this is such an important trilogy. Watch it watch it watch it.

Contagion [2011]

“We’re working very hard to find out where this virus came from. To treat it and to vaccinate against it if we can. We don’t know all of that yet, we just don’t know. What we do know, is that in order to become sick you have to first come in contact with a sick person or something that they touched. In order to get scared, all you have to do is to come in contact with a rumor, or the television or the internet. I think what Mr. Krumwiede is uh… is spreading, is far more dangerous than the disease.”

I wanted to watch this film today firstly because it seemed topical with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the world right now, and also because I guess I hoped it would poke fun of the situation and therefore make me less worried.

Have to say, watching the film did successfully calm my nerves for one reason, and scared me to my core for another which I will get to it a little bit.. P.S. This review is a bit longer than I normally do because there was a lot to wrap my brain around and I really, really want to unpack that. aka TLDR… Here goes!

Firstly, the fictitious virus that spreads in the film (MEV-1, inspired by the nipah virus) is obviously a very agressive virus. It spreads easily through both touch and droplets released from the nose and mouth making it extremely contagious, and the fatality rates are very high as it causes inflamation of the brain. So in a way, I was calmed because I know COVID-19 is not as contagious and that the mortality rates are actually quite low in comparison (in the region of 3-10% depending on the country, the host’s ability to access quality health care and some factors around their health and age, whereas the virus in Contagion affected and killed people indiscriminantly so regardless of their health). In the film they said 1 in 5 would contract the virus, but it seemed to kill every person who came into contact with it. With the exception of Matt Damon…….. **big big hollywood sigh**

However, the film was unsettling to say the least. I’ve watched many outbreak films before and there’s always something ridiculous about them. For instance, Shaun of the dead, 28 days later, I Legend and countless others. All of them seem so far from current reality that I can sit comfortably in that and enjoy the ride. In Contagion the makers obviously wanted the film to be scientifically as close to reality as possible. They did their research about how viruses spread from ground zero onto other hosts, they mentioned stats about death rates of real viruses like Spanish Flu (the 1918 pandemic that killed 500 million people and killed somewhere in the region of 50 to 100 million people) and they showed how easily viruses spread through tense scenes following infected parties touch people and items like inside of buses, food and so on. The icing on the cake which literally gave me chills was the end scene which reveals the route of the virus to patient zero (Paltrow) whereby a bat comes into contact with a fruit, which comes into contact with a pig, which comes into contact with a chef who does not wash his hands and then goes on to shake hands with Paltrow. Before, it is presumed Paltrow contracted it whilst having an affair with another party, and there’s this sense almost like that makes it less tragic, but when you find out how it actually happened you realise nothing could have prevented it (except good hand washing hygiene, wash your hands people). Also, bats are known to have zoonotic diseases, i.e. diseases which can easily be spread across species. The fact that they used bats as the source of the virus in this film, which could very well have been the source of the COVID-19… You know, when I was a kid I was never really scared of bats like other people were. Batman used to be a symbol of fear, and I remember one film Ace Ventura 2 where Jim Carrey is seen fearfully running with this sacred bat over his head and screaming.. none of that scared me… but seeing that cute little bat drop that little fruit and kill Paltrow scarred my very core and I will be forever changed.

The other scary part of the film, and the point the quote gets at in the film, is how dangerous misinformation can be spread, because words can spread and takeover a host as quickly and be just as deadly. Firstly people start to panic and protest and loot. There is also a supposed prophet tells vulnerable people that a herbal medicine called forsythia is the cure that the government have been holding back, and 6 million people trust in this man and potentially die – though you never see the real consequences to people in the film, only the consequences to the perpetrator of the lie.

Ultimately though, the team saves the day and develops a widespread vaccine in four months… FOUR MONTHS?! Get out of here. That’s the least believable part. That and Matt Damon’s acting when he finds out his wife has died. Like did you even like her? Joking aside, the makers of the film went to all the trouble of making sure it was as believable as possible only to fastrack a vaccine which we all know takes longer than 4 months to produce…

So all in all, very chilling film. Has a surpringly low rating of 6.5 on IMDB. I assume this is because there is very little action in this despite being filled to the brim with MASSIVE names like Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston, Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, and obviously Gwyneth Paltrow. But I thought it was really well done, pretty tense throughout and gave me a lot to think about and would definitely recommend.

The Fly [1986]

“I will say now, however objectively, that human teleportation, molecular decimation, breakdown, reformation, is inherently purging.”

I feel like I saw this film when I was very young but it was probably one of those films that would have seemed very inocuous at first to my parents and then it became sexy and scary and my parents decided it was TIME FOR BED. Due to this policing I have some memory of it, but obviously none of the good sexxxy scarrry bits.

So this film is your typical film. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy gets jealous and jumps into his transporter with a fly. Boy becomes fly. You know, standard.

I feel like this is a sci-fi/gore film of two parts. On the one hand, it is obviously pretty gorey and really gross but I feel like it isn’t gore for the sake of gore and has good humour about itself. For instance, in one part, Seth as The Fly (played by Jeff Goldblum) pukes on his food in Roni/Veronica’s (played by Geena Davis) presence and says “that’s gross”. I feel like he is referring to all gore films in that moment, and it’s so well comically timed. The second part to it is it’s surprisingly moving. I was way more moved by the story than I thought I would be, considering how ridiculous a film it is. There’s one moment where The Fly is watching Roni talking to an ex and then she gets in a car; he’s on top of the roof looking down, and it was like a Hunchback of Notre Dame moment. He has become an outcast, which unlike HOND is largely his own doing, but you can see this same sadness in him and it made the film – for me – deeply touching and tragic particularly as the movie develops and comes to its climax. A lot of gore films paint creatures as monsters and things to be scared of (which I personally think is pretty basic), but in this film Cronenberg painted it as something to be pitied and empathied with which in contrast is very loving and complicated and wonderful. I also enjoyed the fact that the creepy ex boyfriend – who throughout the film is lechorous to Roni – doesn’t come away unscathed from his altercation with The Fly.

Lastly, no one else could have done The Fly justice than Jeff Goldblum. His intensity and his little physical ticks make it what it is. Absolute must see.

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Never Let Me Go [book, by Kazuo Ishiguro]

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how I think it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”

I guess the fact that this book is featuring on a blog solely about sci fi is a bit of a spoiler in itself, so if you don’t want to learn anymore, I would implore that you stop reading this blog, go out and buy the book and read it now because you will not be disappointed…

Okay I think I gave enough warning. So when I read this book I really didn’t think it was a sci fi book. I thought it was some romantic fiction book. It came highly recommended by a couple friends. From the get-go, you realise things are not as they seem and as you progress through the book, it gets weirder and weirder. I won’t say too much, but the truth of the situation really hit me in the gut; I really wasn’t expecting to read what I did. Ultimately though, this story is about youth, growing up, accepting your fate gracefully, grieving and letting go (contrary to the book’s title) and how even after you lose people you love, you never really lose them.

Beautiful book. Go read it today.

The Day The Earth Stood Still [1951]

“I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.”

I really really enjoyed this film. There’s something about sci fi in the 40s and 50s that is so terribly endearing I can’t deal with it. The story goes: alien lands on earth and inexplicably wants to talk to the USA president to arrange a meeting of minds (god help us if that ever happened with trump… we would be screwed) and this is met with hostility by all the dumb, trigger happy men of the world with the exception of one scientist, a laydee and her son. Gee wizz!

The funniest bits of the film were the way they all described the robot in the film as being an 8ft giant, but next to normal humans he really wasn’t that much taller… Also since it was a film made in the 50s, there were obvious themes of cold war tension with the east, for instance one of the characters speculated that so-and-so (not naming names) or you-know-who had sent the so-called alien and that it was the work of a country and not some outer world entity.. Oh and the space ship and the robot, and generally the special effects of the film were pretty advanced and they didn’t look like they had aged awfully, if you compare it to some more recent films even! But maybe you can’t really go wrong with bacofoil.. **shrug**

The film left with an ambiguous ‘well it’s up to you’ bit, which I really enjoyed.

Go see it. A must watch!

Color Out of Space [2019]

“A dream you dream alone is just a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

I’ll be honest, when my bro suggested we watch this film, I was worried it would largely feature Nicholas Cage just being Nicholas Cage.. and I was not disappointed! Except space!

SPOILERS! So this ‘Cosmic Horror’ film centres on a family who have moved to a rural house in America and features a hydrologist named Ward, who – hilariously true to his name – ends up driving back with the cavalry to try to save the family from a bunch of scary stuff. There’s a lot of weird stuff going on. A meteor falls from the sky onto their lawn and inexplicably disappears. There’s a weird thing in the well that only the youngest can hear and is completely mesmerised by it. There are weird bugs. Flowers suddenly growing everywhere and no one seems to even question it. Gross out scenes. Wican. Scenes that will stay with you in your nightmares. And through it all, Nicholas Cage just being Nicholas Cage. Part of you doesn’t believe it is happening, that really they’re tripping balls because they drank the water that Ward says is contaminated, but gradually as you see through Ward’s eyes and his reactions to what is happening, you realise it’s real.

Also sidenote but important note, really adored that Ward was a black guy and that he was left last man standing. More of this.

All in all, really fun film, really really enjoyed it. Would definitely recommend.