Science Fiction Commentary

Includes Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and anything of that ilk

A Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or The Best Star Wars Film Yet

As readers of this blog are aware, I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan. I was crushed when the Expanded Universe was remade into Legends, and was generally disappointed by The Force Awakens last year. I follow the Star Wars Report (an excellent site with quality podcasts), and have dived headfirst into the new(ish) Star Wars miniatures fleet battle game Star Wars: Armada (the best tabletop game I’ve ever played, period). I had the distinct pleasure of viewing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Sunday, December 18th, and I have to say, without reservation, this is now my favorite Star Wars film by a county mile. A more detailed review follows this, but for now, this is your OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING. I repeat, this is a SPOILER WARNING (for both Rogue One and The Force Awakens, though the latter has been out for a year). Continue with this piece

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The Helicarrier, or An Exploration of Force and Might Through the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is without a doubt a fantastic media achievement. At the time of this writing, it spans thirteen films, with eleven in development, and four TV series, with four more also in development. One thing immediately apparent to anyone familiar with the series is that it is never afraid, like its comics origin, to provide commentary on contemporary events, politics, and cultural and social trends. Between characters, plots, villains, and more, Marvel films do not cease to provide metaphors for viewers to chew over, even as they deliver bombastic films that are whirlwinds of entertainment. I would like to propose a new vehicle through which to examine a Marvel commentary on force and power: the SHIELD Helicarrier. A gigantic craft that serves various functions throughout its cinematic career, the helicarrier and the events surrounding the titanic ship and her Insight sisters provide an unique look at the appropriate uses of force and might in the resolution of ongoing international crises and even interpersonal conflict through individual lens. Continue with this piece

A Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or I Understand the Star Trek Purists Now

Recently I saw the movie on track (or already through) to shatter every box office record it is in line for, including total worldwide and domestic box office ticket gross: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA). I saw it a few days ago now, and I think I have had the necessary time to mull over the film properly and form my conclusions about it. And I’ve come up with my short answer and my long answer when people ask me what I thought of it. Short Answer: A- as a stand-alone film, B next to the rest of the series, and C+ when compared to the Expanded Universe (EU). Long Answer: well, you’re going to have to bear with me here. It’s not going to be short. Oh, and before you read any farther, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING, both for the film and a huge chunk of the Expanded Universe, now called Legends. I repeat, THIS IS YOUR OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING. Continue with this piece

The Courage of No, or Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard As A Leadership Role Model

Who is Commander Shepard? Well if you’re looking for a first name, you’re sorely out of luck. For those of you unfortunate enough to have never experienced the glory of the Mass Effect video game series, Commander Shepard is the player character, customizable to an incredible degree. Gender, first name, skill set, progression, even how the player reacts to significant in-game plot points are entirely within the player’s control. In short, Shepard IS the player. And that Shepard is a person that can not be shaped by the player, but shape the player in return. (Note to readers, I assume Paragon (one of the two moral alignments) play for plot hereon out, not Renegade (the other). That makes a pretty big difference. Also, SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT I REPEAT LOTS OF SPOILERS.) Continue with this piece

Positivity and Pushing Frontiers, or Why Starfleet Made the Federation

Recently I published a post concerning Starfleet from Star Trek, specifically addressing the whitewash that Starfleet often gets as a naive, underwhelming navy in a science fiction multiverse of hard-hitting superpowers. In short, I concluded that Starfleet deserves better than it gets, between a culture of valor, a refusal to ever refuse a genuine peace, and a complete lack of the naivete often associated with it. But Starfleet can teach us another lesson beyond the knights of science fiction navies. Starfleet, in that same culture of valor, teaches us how to be a culture of good. I challenge to you this: Starfleet is not good because of the Federation, but rather that the Federation is good because of Starfleet. Continue with this piece