Film Review: The Man from Earth

Before Star Wars made the dominant setting of pop culture Science Fiction in-space there were other stories that proposed the big “What if?” to a scientific reality and explored the repercussions of changing it. Older films didn’t have the ability to make billions of polygons dance on screen so they had to use plot and intrigue to grip an audiences attention, the ones that did survive in general knowledge to this day.

The film starts with a tenure professor’s going away party, the intention being to make final farewells to his friends of the last ten years. The last remnants of his packing that are on show and spark questions that lead to the idea that he proposes to the group: “What if a man, from the Upper Palaeolithic survived until the present day?” The academics and guests proceed to follow the hypothesis through conversation and enquiry.

Despite only the briefest of movements on the porch the stage is the hosts lounge with the story progressing purely through the parties discussions. The dialogue grips your attention so much that you easily imagine entire realms of possibilities about when and what the ‘caveman’ experienced.

One idea presented is of the “all knowing immortal”; a 14,000 year old would only be able to learn upto the edge of published knowledge on a particular subject, the noosphere grows too fast for anyone able to keep up. As such his current preoccupation’s information would be current but the Literature Doctorate from a century ago would be mostly redundant.

Same goes for experiences, a singular viewpoint of his nearest 100 metres doesn’t allow for a great perspective of what the world was doing at any one moment. You might be able to relay key events if you’re part of them but anything important enough to be of note indirectly puts attention on you, something that could result in your secrets discovery. Such a lapse could have dire consequences since as an ageless prisoner you would be trapped in your own body with escape as your only hope whereas a mortals death or escape could be their release.

This is one of those rare films (and by proxy the book ) that deserves to be remembered for its examination of long life, something that although has been done before it is done in a way and to a greater extent that the Highlander cinema never did. A rarity with great plot writing has becoming so scarce in the mainstream.

If you enjoyed what they could squeeze into this 108 minute film then I suggest checking out the book by Jerome Bixby of the same name.

Rating: 92%

Film Review: Transformers

My toys when I had a single digit age were Transformers, I saw the amazing animated movie at the cinema and even dressed up as Optimus Prime for a Halloween. As such in my teenage years I daydreamed what a live action film would be like, drawing on conclusions from what I’d seen in the cinema that week, be it The Matrix, or Episode 1. As years passed I grew more and more doubtful anyone from my generation would write a screenplay to get it directed and produced. Now its 2007 and my extremely high expectations have just about been reached.

Whilst I didn’t expect blocky robots with grotesque transformations I never imagined that the Autobots and Decepticons would be depicted so authentically. All the internal parts of the vehicle modes are visible in the humanoid form which is absolutely breathtaking, I don’t care how much it cost to render all the frames at 38 hours each it was worth every penny. However, now that the initial thrill is over I bet in the sequel (and there blatantly has to be one) there are more panels covering the mechanical organs, probably ret-con’d in as armour now that they are warring again.

Showed me something uncommon then, and a rarity now; for once the good guys didn’t always win outright at the conclusion of that weeks episode but they did eventually triumph in that particular story arch which meant that anything could happen and kept me guessing each week and inspiring me to work it out with my toys. With the eighties show being so iconic I assumed that the film might do the same, whilst the tale didn’t regale me as a beloved intrepid leader falling at the hands of the enemy the special effects did, something progressively harder in these insensitive times.

As for the toys, I owned Optimus Prime, both the original version and the Power Master version. I did not have Megatron, which is easily forgiveable because his alt mode was a pistol and given one of them to a kid is not something I would be entirely happy with today, toys guns should look like toys, plastic and brightly coloured. Maybe I’m being to PC but there are many parents not being protective enough out there and others being too much, if I fall into the ‘to much’ category on this issue so be it. Anyway, with the detail on the transformations being so high I’m interested to see how they engineer the newline of toys…

Hopefully you’ve kept reading to this point and as such I’ll not keep your attention much longer. This film whilst not entirely faithful to the animation that I loved so much is a fantastic watch. An entertaining story, great effects and superb performances.
Rating 96%

Wallpapers: Standard (4:3) and Widescreen (16:9)

Jamboree in Space!

I’ve just listened (live) to the Astronauts on the International Space Station. Ten Young Correspondents from across the World asked 20 questions to Clayton Anderson in the 10 minute window Hylands Park, Chelmsford was in the ISS field of vision.

Continue reading Jamboree in Space!

Wednesday

To keep the World as concurrent of events as possible thejamboree.org had to be updated after the Sunrise ceremony so it off to work for a few hours before a cooked lunch at 1pm.

Being the birthday of Scouting I decided to treat myself, and the rest of the Web team, to a soft frozen Ice Cream commonly known amongst other guises as a ‘99‘. Seeing as all the content for the day had been pushed into the Online Jamboree News I decided to investigate the Ice Cream, the ice cream cone originated sometime before 1806 as that is the first known picture of one. The soft frozen ice cream discovery has a far more interesting story, whilst at Oxford University Margaret Thatcher ‘invented’ it, that’s certainly something interesting to remember for a pub quiz.

Having just achieved a warm shower and feeling rather fresh at the time I bumped into Hoppo and others of the Web Team, somehow Hoppo and I drifted out of the conversation and began playing with a novelty flying Halo (Frisbee is a brand name) when several of the Go Jamboree turned up and we started meandering around the Adult Hub.

Some a reason unbeknownst to me we ducked into the Adult Support Centre whilst looking around aimlessly I checked next to my name for post and shockingly I had some, the IST badges had finally arrived! So now I had to track down the 6 lucky owners out of a sub-camp of 8,000! Knowing how long it had taken Members’ Matt to get the WSJ t-shirts out I knew it might take several unfortunate days.

Taking the evening to chill several of the Go Jamboree lot and I sat playing cards in the cafe with a unexpected appearance from the eccentric Caro that prompted a group photo, a prelude if you will to the full shot tomorrow.

Walking around the IST Bar a hysterical Charliestar phoned Mary saying that Coldplay were playing at the Gifts for Peace concert in the main arena. Eventually when everyone had gotten over the hype it turned out to be a tribute band Coolplay which, despite not being there, I believe were a rather good gig.

Sunrises on a New Century

Here it is, the actual 100th Birthday of Scouting, 1st August 1907 to 1st August 2007, some 23 Scouts (everyone forgets that Baden-Powell counts as well) started the movement on Brownsea Island at 8am to the sound of 3 blasts from a Kudu horn. Now a century later, at 28 million members Worldwide, we’re the largest uniformed youth movement.

To mark this special occasion an entire day of the 21st World Scout Jamboree has been moulded to fit a special programme including a 6am wake-up for a 8am ceremony to mark exactly when the first camp started. To dawn in the new century Peter Duncan, the current Chief Scout, blew the Kudu horn. This event was witnessed by hundreds of Scouts at Brownsea Island, by thousands via Satellite link-up at Hylands Park (Jamboree site) and millions across the World through television.

After some moving words Peter Duncan led us with The Promise, a promise at the root of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, from country to country, from person to person its different but the meaning is the same; to do your Best, to keep your allegiance and to follow the Scout Law.

Keeping politically correct Peter Duncan performed the international promise but most spoke their own version, myself I opted for the UK Version:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best,
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people,
And to keep the Scout Law.

After this moving experience we were treated to a fitting speech from HRH the Duke of Kent, President of the Scout Association UK and a reading of a letter from the Queen of England.

All in all a very impressive event, but something completely unexpected, the Current Lord Baden-Powel, the founder’s Grandson, graced us with a letter written by B-P to be read after his departure.

And to round off the mornings celebration to a selection of musical performances we all tried to get our special Sunrise Neckers signed by everyone around us, preferably from as many nationalities as possible.

Tuesday

Decided to sleep in today so only yesterdays leftover Flapjack for Breakfast and lunch, luckily there was plenty of Jammie Dodgers going around the office.

Steve’s day off (Web Team Leader) so we’re working today under democratic rule, basically all the stories from the newspaper were up by 3pm so for the rest of my 11am to 7pm shift I installed Coppermine Photo Gallery on the Go Jamboree website. I suppose if anything this crummy job has the advantage of a lot of free time as the reporters only go frantic around the big events such as the Opening, Closing and Sunrise Ceremonies.

Continue reading Tuesday