A Wakefield 1st Grader and “Killing Kennedy”

(Apologies for deviating from non-heavy material – Dennis Oxley)

“Killing Kennedy” Poster

“Killing Kennedy” Poster

As I’m writing this (November 20th, 2013), I’m watching “Killing Kennedy” (2013), a National Geographic film based on Bill O’Reilly’s book, that I recorded. It’s not an especially good movie and a terrible title. Pretty wooden (Outta 5 — 2.25). It seems as though Nelson McCormick’s direction was primarily to blame. I have my suspicions that the book wasn’t much either. Rob Lowe is pretty good as JFK (he even seemed to get the visual & mannerisms of JFK down) Jack Noseworthy is pretty good as RFK, and Francis Guinan Is decent as LBJ. Michelle Trachtenberg as Mrs. Oswald and Will Rothaar as Oswald are okay, just not very dimensional. Poor Jennifer Goodwin as Jackie… she just didn’t get the direction or a good enough character on the page to work with. The rest of the cast aren’t worth mentioning. The film deals with how the stories of Kennedy and Oswald progress from the point of Kennedy’s election and intersect in Dallas November 22th, 1963. One thing I had not remembered was Oswald’s assassination attempt on Gen. Edwin Walker (a political opposite of Kennedy), that was interesting. Spoiler alert: The film basically states that Oswald acted alone, and not as an agent of any group or nation ini his act of assassination.

Wakefield Elementary 1959

Wakefield Elementary 1959

There was one aspect of watching this film that was of interest… Friday will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination of our president. When that event happened in 1963, I was in the 1st grade at Wakefield Elementary in southwest Little Rock, Arkansas. What I remember of that day was that at some point (I think) some adult came in and whispered something to my teacher. Her name was (ironically) Mrs. Fitzgerald. I remember her visibly shaken. Then she started sobbing. There was kind of a weird moment where the room full of 6 year olds was wondering what was going on. There may have been some kids crying as well, scared, not knowing why their teacher was upset… not sure. Then Mrs. Fitzgerald spoke to the class. Her exact words, I’m not sure, but she did say that President John F. (Fitzgerald) Kennedy had died or had been killed. She may have told us where, I’m not sure. Not long after that, over the intercom, we were told that President Kennedy was dead and school was letting out for the rest of the day. We all lived within blocks of the school, so it was a short walk home. Vaque memory of seeing Ruby shooting Oswald on television and days later, watching the funeral procession on television. The flag draped casket drawn by the horses.

JFK Funeral procession as I would have seen it on television.

JFK Funeral procession as I would have seen it on television.

Watching the film, I kept thing about where I was and what was going on in my 6 year old mind at the time. I do remember getting the impression that this wasn’t something that happened all the time… Of course later I’d find out that it happens quite a bit. Definitely got the feeling that things weren’t as “safe” as I thought.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

As far as the man, John F. Kennedy, my thoughts have changed over the years. At his death I, like most kids, respected the President. It’s what we were taught, directly and through observation. I guess there were some kids that were taught differently. But as I got older I came to the conclusion that men (and women) are multi-faceted with good points and bad. The recent reveal of the extent of JFK’s womanizing has made that aspect of his character even more deplorable. My basic personal belief is that no matter who inhabits the office, the President of the United States of America deserves our respect and support in the extent that he (or she) does represent us and our wishes to the rest of the world. We can disagree with White House policies with all due respect for the office.

I think the part of the Kennedy tragedy that still makes people feel remorse is the iconic part, the part that has transcended reality and leads us to feel as though a portion of America that put us above the fray was lost… “Camelot” if you will. I think the reality is that the veneer of the United States and the 50s was cracked that day.

Now, here we are 50 years later, these same kids that were shocked out of some of their childhood are now, basically, “in charge”. Shouldn’t we have learned something from that tragedy? Have we? Let’s see…

Hate flyer circulated around Dallas 1963

Hate flyer circulated around Dallas 1963

We are attacking ourselves and ripping this country apart with obstructionism, racism, calling on violence against the opposition, domestic terrorism, political terrorism, rampant paranoia, disrespecting the office of The President of the United States… so, no. Nothing has changed and we haven’t learned anything but to do all of the above more efficiently.

Full page in Dallas paper 1963

Full page in Dallas paper 1963

Don’t really want to end this writing on a negative note, and that’s one aspect of the American character that still survives and, I think, defines us… hope. Hope for the future. Hope that we can disagree without being disagreeable and can move this country forward.

Here is a link to the “Killing Kennedy” trailer:
http://youtu.be/FHZqXcPZJOE

Evolution of the Creature from the Black Lagoon / Halloween 2013

Promotion still from "Creature/Black Lagoon" with Chapman & Adams

Promotion still from “Creature/Black Lagoon” with Chapman & Adams

I’ve always liked, if not loved, The Creature from the film “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” The “idea” of the Creature strikes several chords within me. One simplistic one is the idea that it exist in the nostalgia of the foggy, early parts of my life —The 50s—Even though it was released in 1954, before I was born. It is the last iconic Universal Monster, and is kind of a dichotomy of that and where horror cinema was at that time. Even though it is considered a major player in the burgeoning “Atomic Age” science fiction films (which I love), it is not an entity that owes it’s existence to radioactivity or any perversion of science, it’s roots are exclusively and firmly from a fictitious prehistory of the Earth. And it is this prehistoric angle, along with it’s scaly, almost reptilian look (apparently skipping the amphibian evolutionary stage) that speaks to the amateur paleontologist in me.
Speaking of my early childhood, I can’t tell you how many times as a kid, me, my brother Doug, our sleep over friends, even my sister Liz on occasion, waited up WAY past our bedtime (I’m sure we had to beg our parents) to watch “Creature from the Black Lagoon” on the late, late Friday or Saturday night “creature feature” television shows that aired in central Arkansas in the 60s. “Chiller Theater” (KTHV 11), later, Aclin Ford & Charles McRaven from Jacksonville hosted a show on KATV 7, then in the 70s, “Dr. Mazzepa Pompazoidi Show” (originating at their sister station in Tulsa—KTUL 8 with Gaylord Sartain in the title role and featuring the likes of Gary Busey as “Teddy Jack Eddy”). Later, in the 80s up to just recently, “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark” ruled late night horror shows.

Mazzepa (Gaylord Sartain)

Mazzepa (Gaylord Sartain)

Anyway, we’d try to stay up to only to fall asleep during some insufferable 10:30 movie with Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, or Doris Day. In some cases there was a late night fishing show that would do us in. Then we’d wake up when the high pitched tone with the Indi… Native American test pattern would come on signaling the end of the broadcast day.

There was a time in my mid teens that I thought again of doing a Super 8mm film. A horror film. One idea was doing a “Creature” inspired movie. There were some lowland areas on our bus route going to school that would have been perfect for shooting ‘lagoon’ footage.

ANYWAY, to the main thought of this blog entry, the ‘evolution’ of The Creature…

1954 Movie Poster

1954 Movie Poster

In the original “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (CFTBL) had a somewhat slow reveal of the complete countenance of the monster. When he shows up audiences were treated to the cutting edge ‘make-up’ effects, full body suit of The Creature, designed by commercial artist, illustrator & Disney animator working for Universal Pictures, Milicent Patrick and executed by others under Bud Westmore (Ms. Patrick’s contribution to CFTBL have historically been overlooked, but recently acknowledged). The detail on the final suit was exquisite and highly detailed. His reflective fish eyes looked extremely life like and weird to me, when I was a kid and in the present as well. There’s a scene where he’s walking towards the camera on deck of the “Rita”, that still gives me the heebeegeebees!

Miliceint Patrick drawing out an idea

Miliceint Patrick drawing out an idea

There were two actors that played the creature, Ben Chapman was the ‘land’ creature (the one used to shoot scenes on the sound stage in Universal City, California) and Ricou Browning played the ‘water’ creature, for shooting underwater scenes in Wakulla Springs, Florida. The cast was made up of veteran “B” movie actors… Richard Carlson (Dr. David Reed), Julie Adams (Kay Lawrence), her Florida double was Ginger Stanley, Richard Denning, the antagonist (Mark Williams), the great Nestor Paiva, captain of the “Rita” (Lucas), Antonio Moreno (Dr. Maia) and the venerable Whit Bissell (Dr. Thompson).
“Creature from the Black Lagoon”’s (’54) story, allegedly based on a rumor of a half man-half fish legend, told to producer William Alland at a wrap party for “Citizen Kane” by an Mexican cinematographer, has a research team tracking remnants from a fossil of a mysterious Gill-man into the upper reaches of the Amazon. Once there, and with a love triangle sub plot between – Reed, Kay, and Williams going on in the background, they discover the live Creature. First they try to capture him, then they try to escape him. During the course of the film, there is an iconic scene—wonderfully directed by Jack Arnold—where Kay (Adams) in a beautiful and slightly risqué white bathing suit, swims in the lagoon not knowing the Creature is swimming with her under the surface, matching her stokes and speed. Believe me, any “baby-boom fanboy” knows this scene.

Iconic scene from "Creature/Black Lagoon" with Stanley & Browning

Iconic scene from “Creature/Black Lagoon” with Stanley & Browning

1955 Movie Poster

1955 Movie Poster

I’ll not spoil the film for you, but there were two, sequels. The first one “Revenge of the Creature” (’55) was put together a bit hastily. Ricou Browning was once again the ‘water’ Creature in this one, but Tom Hennesy played the ‘land’ Creature. Mr. Hennesy was the same height as Chapman was, 6’5″, so claims in this film that the Creature was more than 8 feet tall (carried over from the original film) were a bit ridiculous. The suit was bit less detailed, the ocular part of the mask (one of the best parts of the original Chapman suit), were bland. This film, directed by Arnold and produced by Alland again, has a smaller team (smaller, really?) going back to the Black Lagoon to capture the Gill-man. They do, and get him back to an aquarium in Florida, where by the way, a young Clint Eastwood has a bit part as a lab assistant. The Creature breaks free, of course, after going through some conditioning treatments that would make the film “Blackfish” look kind in comparison. It’s up to his tormentors, actors John Agar & Lori Nelson to try and find him.

1956 Movie Poster

1956 Movie Poster

The next year, Universal Studios decided to go a different direction with the franchise, this time with John Sherwood directing “The Creature Walks Among Us” (’56). This was a pretty strange film and I have a ‘love/hate’ feeling about it. Love the first act, middle act okay, last act eh… not so good. Pretty good cast… Browning once again is the marine Creature in the first third of the film being pursued by a real nice yacht going up the Amazon looking for him. Ricou, in a suit looking better than the one in “Revenge”, has some pretty cool scenes when he finally turns back and attacks the group of scientist hired by a wealthy doctor/yacht owner played by Jeff Morrow (Dr. William Barton). In the struggle The Creature gets burned severely, and collapses. The doctors, lead by Rex Reason (Dr. Thomas Morgan), find out that just below the surface, The Creature has all it needs to make the ‘next step’ in evolution to a land Creature. So after some surgical procedures, the Creature is breathing with his lung back-ups, he’s lost his scales and claws, and his marine eye-covers. The Creature at this point is played by Don Megowan. The doctors set sail for the millionaires’ ranch in Sausalito California. There, Barton pretty much loses his mind over a perceived infidelity of his young wife (Leigh Snowden) with the team’s hired hand, Jed (Gregg Palmer) and murders Jed in front of the Creature’s pen. This act of violence in front of the ‘changed’ Creature Infuriates him, he breaks free and goes after Barton. I’ll leave something of the 3rd act for you.

This brings us to the crux of this blog entry for “from the Train Room”… As we go from one film to the next The Creature seems to evolve. in the first two films it’s not as evident. But in the last one it’s pretty pronounced. I’ve never been real comfortable with were the Creature ended up. I loved him in the original… his reptilian like countenance. But, because there’s got to be an ‘upwards & onwards’ on story arcs, WE had to try and change him. I guess to make him more in “god’s image” , like us, right?

Chapman suit, 1954   Hennesy (?) suit, 1955   Megowan suit. 1956

Chapman suit, 1954                              Hennesy (?) suit, 1955                               Megowan suit, 1956

I just love how retro sci-fi always seemed to presented a moral message in it’s content. Some of which is laughable in today’s context, some still relevant.

Please check out, what is essentially, part 2 of this Halloween 2013 trifecta blogging…

Oxley Art Creature blog “Uncle Gilbert comes to Little Rock”. In it I’ll update you on the “teaser” about Julie Adams in my last Halloween blog entry “Horror Women / Halloween 2012”.

Horror Women / Halloween 2012

No, I haven’t forgotten that Halloween is less than 2 weeks away. But I have to admit, with all the political stuff going around, it’s easy to forget… SO let’s get into the Halloween Spirit shall we? At my house, we wrap ourselves up in enjoying horror films, old and new. Inevitably, there’s a woman in distress who, in the process of running from the ‘monster’ will fall down, look back and scream. So this Halloween we’ll honor the women of horror films, not ranked or in a particular order.

I’ll be adding these as we go along. If you’re coming to this post from a Facebook post/link and you don’t see the image/answer you were looking for initially, just scroll down the page…

The ‘hint’ on #1 Mary Philbin was that Gerard Butler played Chaney’s role in the tamer and more romantic 2004 musical version.

The hint “believe it or not!”… a nod to the name, as in “Ripley’s Believe it or not!”

Weaver is reportedly working on 2013’s “GhostBusters 3”, has signed for “Avatar 2” and possibly “Alien 5.”

Many film critics herald this film as one of if not THE greatest sequels of all time.

Encase you didn’t get the ‘hint’, during one of the most disturbing parts of the film, the character of Regan turns her head a full 360 degrees (achieved through special effects). At one point in shooting Linda’s scene with gentleman Max Von Sydow (as Father Merrin), her delivery and language so upset him, he forgot his lines.

We’ve kind of come full circle here with the types of women that have populated horror films. #1 Mary Philbin was this blog’s namesake, the type that is terrorized. #2 Sigourney Weaver was the “take control” heroine. #3 Elsa Lanchester & #4 Linda Blair were the source of the horror. Now we’re back to the “screamers”…

Ms. Adams has recently been in a couple of episodes of “Lost” and in “World Trade Center” 2006, but was seen quite often on television in episodes of Marcus Welby, Andy Griffith, and General Hospital to name just a few. I’m hoping to have a chance to meet her soon in relation to a project I’m currently working on.

The ‘hint’ given was a reference to famous Marilyn Monroe scene in “The Seven Year Itch” 1955 with Tom Ewell. Coming out of the theater where “The Creature ” was showing, and right before her skirt is blown up by the subway grate, she speaks of sympathy for the monster.

Janet was a co-star in “Halloween: H2O” 1998, the 3rd out of the 4 times Jamie played the role of Laurie Strode, and also in the 1980 Carpenter Film “The Fog”. So sorry, the ‘hint’ was a nod to Jamie’s Activia Yogurt commercials promoting regularity. Notice the role reversal, Janet got the knife in Psycho, Jamie carried it in Halloween!

The ‘hint’ was a pun on her stage name “Pitt”, as in peach pit. The photos shown here are tame compared to some I passed over in ‘researching’ this entry! Ingrid Pitt, born Ingoushka Petrov, her filmography includes the X rated “The Vampire Lovers” 1970, “The Final Option” 1982 (personal fav) and “Where Eagles Dare” 1968 (also a favorite) with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Once on the set of “The Vampire Lovers” her vampire teeth kept falling out into the cleavage of her co star, after a lot of giggling, she secured the teeth with bubble gum. She passed away at age 73 in 2010.

After breaking off her engagement with Ford, she married Richard Denning (“The Creature from the Black Lagoon” ’54, “The Black Scorpion” ’57) in 1942 and they stayed together until her death at age 67 in Maui 1985. Surprisingly, her and Chaney had a bit of a dislike for each other… he would scary her on set because she referred to him as “a brute with bad breath”, no doubt referring to his notorious drinking.

Well, that’s it for Halloween 2012’s look at “Horror Women”. There were many, many ‘binders’ full of women not covered in this blog. I’m thinking for 2013 “The Revenge of Horror Women” perhaps? Send me your suggestions.

Three “Things” Plus Two

Warning: If you’ve never seen any of the films from the “Thing” franchise mentioned in this story there are possibly some spoilers for you.

Note: the “Thing” films listed are numbered to the chronology of when they are mentioned in the story, not when the film was created/released.

Thing #1 – 2011 prequel / Blu-ray

I mentioned on Facebook back in January (2012) that we’d bought “The Thing” 2011 (Thing #1, if you’re keeping count) on Blu-ray (outta5 – 2.25), a prequel to “The Thing” 1982 (Thing #2) which we have, on what I though was a decent DVD. But, since we watched the high-def prequel which brings you right up to where the director John Carpenter’s ’82 version begins, we went ahead and made a double feature if it… oh my! The one from the 80’s was very grainy and had very bad sound. I don’t think it was 5.1 audio. I guess we’d never watched that DVD on our Blu-ray player.

Thing #2 – 1982 Carpenter film / DVD

SO we decided it was worth picking up a Blu-ray on the ’82 film, if it existed. Deb picked up the phone, browsed Amazon, and said she found it for $10… well hell yeah!?

All I had to do was wait for it.

Thing #3 – 1958 classic / DVD

While I’m waiting, here’s a little background on this “franchise”… 1958 “The Thing From Another World” (Thing #3) IS a science fiction classic that is considered, by many, as the first true sci-fi film. Outta5 – rated in the context of film today – it is a 3. But in its day, it could easily have been a 4.5, and to me it is that. It set and held the “gold standard” for alien SF films for years. So many things to love… the initial discovery of the saucer, the erie theremin music, the rapid fire, “Dragnet” type of dialog delivery, the resurrection and cat & mouse game between the alien (James Arness) and the the personnel of the US Artic outpost, the climatic ending… to name a few. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. Deb and I joke that the best way to keep from watching a movie over and over on TV is to buy it. That is sometimes true, but buying this one got me watching it even more! It is a delicious bit of nostalgia.

The ’82 film (outta 5, it’s a 4) more faithful to the original material, John W. Campbell’s novella “Who goes there?”, it deals with a situation at a US Antarctica research outpost, where the alien is a life-form that covertly absorbs and duplicates other life forms so completely, that a sentient being might not even know that is a duplicate until the alien is threatened! Kurt Russell leads a (now) all-star, male cast in an effort to make sure the creature doesn’t make it to civilization. It sports a somewhat vague ending.

2011’s “The Thing”, directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (Dutch national), explores a facet of the backstory of the ’82 film. The journals and video footage (amongst other ‘things’) found at the destroyed Norwegian outpost by Russell and Richard Dysart. The alien in this film us much more open and aggressive, supposedly not having learned to be covert in dealing with humans. This version, along with giving us a glimpse of the spacecraft interior, also provides a subtle key to resolving the vague ending of the Carpenter version 29 years later.

Thing #4 – Blast! DVD again!

When the ’82 disc we ordered showed up, I opened it up before I realizing it wasn’t a Blu-ray but a regular DVD Collectors Edition. Notice the deceptive blue bar at the top of the packaging. It’s very similar to Blu-ray packaging design. Basically a repackaging of the disc we already had (this would be Thing #4). At this point I started trying to rationalize what my reasons would be for “buying The Beatles White Album again”. I eventually came up with the rationale that as many times as I would surely watch the ’82 film it would “pay” for itself with all the hours of entertainment it would provide. So we reordered, selected the right disc (Blu-ray), and bought yet another “Thing” (#5).

When it finally got here, we once again watched the new 2011 prequel and

Thing #5 – At last, and well worth the wait! / Blu-ray.

then put in the ’82 Blu-ray… OH MY GOODNESS! From the very beginning it was fantastic! The keystone of the films is the opening title… the ’58 version started it with the title,”The Thing”, being revealed in light on a black background with light rays coming out if it (see the trailer at the end of this story). The 2011 film also works the title in similar fashion. John Carpenter opened his film with the alien spacecraft/flying saucer flying into full frame, then it cuts to the opposite POV and the ship virtually disappears into the countenance of the Earth with a fiery trail heading to Antarctica. Then the title starts to appear over that, very similar to what Howard Hawks did in ’58. Carpenter has said they (re) created the effect by filming a melting a black trash bag in between a spot light and a negative film plate of the title. All of that inside a fish tank type container filled with dry ice. Then the iconic score written by Carpenter with it’s heavy bass line… it invades your very core! Here’s a clip of the title reveal…

opening credits Part 2 from The Thing (1982) by Anyclip

The  image clarity of the film became evident in the second scene with the Norwegian helicopter chasing what looks to be a runaway sled dog over the glacial Antarctic landscape. It was astounding! I would have never guessed I would ever see such a beautiful transfer of this film! On the heels of the 2011 version, the clarity of the image makes the ’82 film also look brand new! This is undoubtably the best viewing of the film I’ve seen, since I didn’t have a chance to see it at the theater. WHICH leads me to revise my rating of of it from a 4 to a  4.25. I highly recommend this Blu-ray for any sci-fi film collection.

The quirky thing about this whole experience (besides boosting sales figures for Universal Home Media), is that the fantastic quality actually gave me a greater appreciation for the latest entry into the franchise. Let’s bump that up to 2.5. The way it seamlessly blends it’s end into the Carpenter film, not to mention documenting the deconstruction of the camp – through fights with the creature and explosions – in to the exact state later found by the Americans in the ’82 film took a lot of precise thought by the director.

It’s a good ‘thing’ sss!

UPDATE: I’ve put the Campbell book on my Amazon Wish List and my “best horror sci-fi watching buddy” (besides my wife), my brother Doug has expressed interest in watching a “Thing” double feature! Crank up the popcorn machine!!!

TRAILERS…

#1 – The Thing (2011)

#2 – The Thing (1982)

#3 – The Thing From Another World (1958)

Prometheus: In space no one can hear you say… “WTF?”

NOTE: I wrote most of this review prior to Tony Scott’s death and to be honest I wasn’t aware that he was involved as producer for his brother’s film. Very tragic event. At the date of this posting news of “why” is still elusive and plans for his project “Top Gun II” are on hold.

It’s been several months since I’ve seen it, so I’m forcing myself to come to some conclusions about the film “Prometheus’12. First off, I think to rate this film on anything other than it’s actual content would be misleading. So, outta5, I’d have to give it a 3.5. Considering all the prerelease hype it got, I’d say this isn’t encouraging for someone looking for something to see at a theatre or considering to buy the disc when it comes out (more about the disc later).  Possible spoilers in the following… One of the major problems with the film is that it plays out with some dependency on a previous film “Alien” ’78, also by director Ridley Scott. Viewers that have not seen that film will be a tad lost during the rousing ending of this film.

NOW, with that being said, I have seen all the “Alien” franchise films (FYI – Scott only uses his “Alien” film as a connection to this film. Disregard “Aliens”, “Alien 3″, Alien Resurrection”, Alien vs. Predator” and “AVP-R”). Within that context I’m not sure how I feel about where the film took me. Maybe I should consider the trip instead of the destination, as they say. Debbie, Eric and I saw it in 3D IMAX which is always a trip. I will say that Scott did not overtly exploit the 3D effect, no trite in your face devices, thank goodness. The special effects, the Prometheus spacecraft, digital characters, landscapes, all beautifully rendered in kind of a dark, muted color palette that seemed to accentuate the foreboding feeling that pervades this film.

The story opens with a humanoid creature ingesting a container of a black fluid which causes him to disintegrate as he falls into a waterfall on what is apparently ancient Earth while a large disc shaped spacecraft hovers overhead. The scene transitions to an underwater view of the DNA of the humanoid interacting with microscopic compounds while the title of the film slowly develops in a style very similar to Scott’s previously mentioned film. This scene seems to indicate that we owe life on Earth to these creatures. The next scene flashes forward to the 25th century with archeologist couple (Naomi Repace & Logan Marshall-Green) finding similar references to the “Engineers” in differing cultures at different times throughout history. All references include the same diagram of a star system that has been recently identified. The film then shifts to the year 2093 and the Weylan Corporation’s Prometheus spacecraft on the last leg of it’s seven year mission to the system with its resident android David (Micheal Fastbinder) monitoring the ships systems while the crew is in suspended animation. Including the scientist couple, a Weylan executive (Charlize Theron), ship’s captain (Idris Elba) and a hidden passenger — the extremely aged CEO Peter Weylan (Guy Pearce) — that is revealed later in the film.

Arriving at the system, it is determined that there is one planet, LV-223 (Not the same planet as in ‘Alien.” That would be LV-426 in the year 2122) that would remotely be able to host the Engineers. After a beautifully rendered approach and landing, the crew strike out in rovers to a large beehive shaped structure on the surface.

There’s a lot of eerie poking around in what is essentially an equivalent to an “old spooky house.” Of course they throw out all scientific/exploring cautions… they split up, they have an opportunity to take their helmets off to breath an untested atmosphere, at one point a astro-biologist (someone who should know better!) tries to pet an alien life form, the list goes on. New rule… science fiction should obey scientific procedure. But then there’s be no excitment, right? There is some real nail biting as things progress… including a hellacious wind storm that traps some of the explorers in the structure overnight, David the android acting suspicious as Scott’s androids tend to do, and vague revelations as to what this structure has been built for and what the mission of Peter Weylan and the Engineers is all about.

After the third act, which is pretty spectacular, Scott comes back to tag the film with an Alien connection for a “genesis” moment, if you will. And of course, as Alien moments are, it’s not pretty.

I left the theatre thinking I’d seen something but I wasn’t really sure what. I mulled over it for weeks, talked about it with folks, and got online to check out what other folks thought… that was even more mind blowing than the movie! (See the some of the last links listed.) If some of those thoughts are correct, the BEST way to see this film will be a “director’s cut” version if it comes out on disc. The conventional wisdom of the fans is that Ridley Scott shoots enough for at least two films on a project, and that he ends up having to cut large chunks out to get it to a manageable length and that’s the reason for so much ambiguity about what the heck the film is about OR they’re banking on such a draw for this film, they’ve already got the sequel in the can. So that’s what I’m waiting for. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give THAT film a higher rating. One thing to consider is, a film that enduces that much thought must be worth watching! But for now, to paraphrase “Alien” ‘s 1978 tag line… In Space, no one can hear you scream… errh, “say WTF?”

Here’s the updated trailer for the film:

Parting thoughts…

Part of the pre-release internet promotion for the film was odd to say the least. These are videos that are not from the film but relate to it. Here are some examples…

Peter Weyland addresses the TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) Conference in 2023:
In this one, Weyland Industries introduces the David 8 (Michael Fassbender) android:
And the strangest viral video is of the character Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), whispering a quote from a book about the death of God by Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra… “I am law for my own kind. I am not law for all”:
WARNING: The following links contain plot spoilers.Here is a link to a page at the IMDB website that attempts to clarify or answer some typical questions that movie goers have posed…
Here’s a link to a forum page that illustrates how the film has ignited discussions of the film’s content and meaning within  the world of Sci-Fi -“geek”dom.
Here’s a link to a YouTube video where a fan tries to logically explain elements of this film:

Thanks Mr. Armstrong.

hero |ˈhi(ə)rō|noun ( pl. -roes)a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities : a war hero.

This was the best definition in my Apple Dictionary of a hero, even though the thing about being “typically a man” seems a bit chauvinistic for a computer dictionary. I bet “Siri” would have something to say about that. The reason I looked it up was because in thinking about Neil Armstrong (one of our nations great, humble heros) I just felt like I should confirm some things. That’s done.

It was sad to hear about Mr. Armstrong’s passing, but at 82, that doesn’t sound too bad… until I get to 72. But it did afford me, and a large group of surviving “baby boomers,” a chance to remember where I was on the night of July 20, 1969. I do remember the awe, but I also remember later thinking… “they can’t get a better television image than that?” Anyway, we were all in the den… my mom, dad, brother and sister, setting in our Mediterranean furniture on the bright red shag carpet trying to make out the image. Quite a memory. Thank you Mr. Armstrong, and of course Mr. Aldrin (“Buzz”– cool astronaut name!) and Mr. Collins. And all the others that made that happen. Sci-fi pushing reality, and reality pushing sci-fi right back!