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Inception and the Allure of the unreal

Inception is one of Breakthrough Director Christopher Nolan’s best films. The concept of the film was based around human dreams. What if we could enter them, and gain access to the human subconscious. Dicaprio acts as Dom Cobb, an expert thief and “architect” in the world of dreams. He is hired by an Asian Contractor to do the impossible; perform the “Inception” of an idea within the mind of another business man. However, Inception is almost impossible to fake. However, Cobb takes on this concept and has the opportunity to do something impossible.

(Spoilers) One of the plot constants is the constant conflict of one’s understanding of reality with one’s understanding of a dream. When we are in a dream, we are unable to tell the difference between dream and reality. If we knew we were dreaming, then it would remove a lot of the mystery and value of dreams in and of themselves. This division causes a danger to one’s understanding, as we see happen to Mal. Dom’s ex-wife. She is unable to give up the idea of the dream, and begins to believe that the real world is fake. This is because of a mistake made by Dom in Limbo. This mistake causes Mal to kill herself in hopes of “Rising into the real world”.

This is where the concept matters. This internal conflict within Dom is showcased by the fights and arguments between Cobb and Mal. Mal acts as both the source of guilt in his mistake, and the example of one who embraces the fantasy, the dream reality. Dom is the one who believes in reality, and his one constant source of hope; his children, and the opportunity to see them again.

This is a conflict that each one of us must engage. We each have a fantasy that we engage in. For many, it is online gaming, for others it is Television drama. For me, it is the world of Doctor Who. This reality is fun, and not inherently dangerous. Dreams are not harmful in and of themselves. It is the total embrace of them as reality, as the end-all that is dangerous. In doing so, we lose connection to our reality, and the relationships that make up our day.

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Posted by on 2011/08/19 in Film

 

Following Falling Skies: Summary

Here’s a final list of all of my entries for Season 1 of Falling Skies, starting with the most recent.  I have to say that I really enjoyed the work done, and cannot wait to start watching Season 2.

Now that this series is done, what show should I start working my way through next?  Are there any new releases that intrigue you?  Or maybe you’d like to see some coverage of older shows, like Star Trek, The Prisoner, or even Firefly?  Let me know in the comments below.

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/16 in Other links, Television

 

Following Falling Skies: The steal of the “Skitters”

This post is based on major spoilers from the show, so if one does not desire to be spoiled, skip this post.  

The skitters are the enemy.  Plain and simple.  They destroyed the basis for human culture, and decimated our ranks.  They enslaved the children, and wiped out all others.  It’s hard to say that these creatures have any of what we would call “humanity” or “mercy”.  But as we watch, the show reveals a much more layered enemy, which has problems, conflicts, and values.  It turns out that the Skitters are harnessed creatures, created via the harnesses which contaminate the children, and allow them to be used as pawns and weapons.  This includes Ben and Rick, who seem to have recovered to a certain degree, but are still affected by the genetic traits of the Skitters.  They can trace the radio signals that we assume are used by Skitters to communicate.  This gives them unique value for the 2nd Massachusetts.

Here is what is important about the Skitters. Their desire (Or the one placed within them by the currently unnamed third species) is to either A) harness kids, and b) kill adults.  The constant of these two of these elements is either the destruction or theft of the victim’s “humanity”.  This removal of humanity is the worst threat they can do.  Skitters, we are told, “Do not want us there”.  They desire the destruction of the very thing that resists them; the human spirit.  Humanity has no desire to just back down.  And that is what makes this show brilliant. It plays the human spirit against the enslaving race who wants nothing else but to destroy and remove the human race’s spirit permanently.

 

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/14 in Opinion, Television

 

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Following Falling Skies: Hanging on to our humanity

As I’ve been digging through my thoughts and feelings about this first season of Falling Skies, I’ve found myself returning to two major themes: the nature of man, and the nature of skitters.  And as I look at these two opposing forces, I can see the metaphoric principles that are underlying in the conflict.  I found an interview with Mark Verheiden, one of the producers of Falling skies in Entertainment Weekly, where he defined Falling Skies as a show about “people who are trying to hold on to their humanity”.  And that is an excellent definition of the show.  Every conflict, every element, everything that the 2nd Massachusetts have done was to hold onto the humanity that defined them.

In an apocalyptic setting, humanity has everything removed from them that they know and love.  Housing, basic food sources, neighbors, media, even the idea of total security disappears.  So, what do these people have left?  They have themselves, their relationships with friends and family, and the hope that they’ll somehow get out of this.  Now, many people will let one or more of these desires take over themselves, and their very being.  These desires are very good, in and of themselves.  However, when people are left alone in their desires, they have a tendency to become encompassing, and eventually take over the person’s life.  It’s when a person comes into a community of others that they are able to focus and use these desires for the better-ment of all.

We see these themes constantly appearing in Falling Skies.  Tom Mason’s primary desire is to find his son, Ben.  However, being the second in command for the 2nd Massachusetts, and having Captain Weaver limit his choices tempers that desire.  While him his fellow fighters gather around him, and desire to help him find Ben. It also allows for a community to provide a voice into his goals, and make the best possible choices.  In the end, Mason’s goals couldn’t have been reached without the 2nd Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, we have the individual John Pope.  A bit of a loner, he is an Ex-convict, and a loner. He had gathered himself a gang in the earlier months of the invasion, and was then captured by Mason and the 2nd Massachusetts.  But his independent nature has turned his desires towards self-fulfillment.  Pope normally finds that through the slaughter of Skitters, oddly enough.  That makes him a threat.  he relies on no one else, which keeps him in a dangerous position.  The same can be said about Captain Weaver, whose personal desires and drug use have put him in a dangerous leadership position, that makes him sporadic and uncontrollable.  He seems to act independent of other’s opinions,and not relying on others for consolation or advice. His unwillingness to listen to the reason of Tom Mason also hurts his relationship with the whole of the 2nd Massachusetts.  Even though these two men are contrasted in their desires and positions, they are hindered by the same problem, a lack of community

The contrasting character types of Mason and Pope/Weaver act as the base for how humanity can act.  Humanity has always been designed with the need for community.  If a person neglects this need,  they will likely become lonely, narcissistic and random.  Eventually, they will be hard to rely on. However, if one consistently returns to a community, whether it be small or big, they will find far more meaning from what they do.  Canadian Philosopher Rene Vaulier once said that “To work for Community is to work for Humanity”.  This communal aspect is one of the key to the survival of humanity.  If we live without others, we are nothing, but if we live with others, we will find strength, and purpose for one’s life.

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/13 in Opinion, Television

 

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Biology and Science Fiction

In travellings across the internet, I’ve tried to discover the best sources for the conversation about science fiction.  My recent find was the blog Biology and Science Fiction This blog is a unique source for opinion about science fiction and the genetic and physical possibilities and impossibilities.  Peggy is both well-read, and intelligent.  She brings a great deal of intelligence to her writing.  I do sometimes disagree with her opinion, but that doesn’t remove the value of the blog. So, if you wish to discover a good science fiction blog that tries to make you think, check out this one.

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/12 in Opinion, Other links

 

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TV Episode Spotlight: Doctor Who, “The City of Death”

Every once in a while, I’ll just throw out a post about a random episode of a TV show I saw recently that I thought was worth bringing up.  On this post, I write about the Doctor Who episode “The City of Death”, featuring the ever-popular Tom Baker.

First off, I am a huge Doctor Who.  I discovered him about nine months ago, and absolutely fell in love.  This British show is creative, thoughtful, and a lot more unique than many elements of Star Trek.  I can’t wait for the 2nd half of the 6 season.  Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor is absolutely brilliant.  However, let’s go back 30 years to the years of Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor.

The plot of this story is simple, The Doctor and his most recent companion Romana (A Time Lady and close friend) is touring Paris for fun, but gets caught up in a plot involving the theft of the Mona Lisa, and the very beginning of the Human race.

This episode is one of the favorites of Whovians everywhere. The placement of the British Doctor in the French Paris, the great villain, and the unique cultural dilemma makes for a memorable episode.  This episode had a lot of potential.  (Spoilers)  In the end,  it turns out that the Jagaroth (The main villain) was accidentally blown up millions of years ago, and his personality (if that makes sense)  was split across the fabric of time.  So, the Jagaroth wants to stop this explosion.  However, if he hadn’t done that, life on Earth would not have started.

Does the idea sound far-fetched?  I certainly agree. The idea of life being started by a accidental explosion is absolutely far-fetched.  It’s a great science fiction concept, but I just don’t want that to be true.  If it is, then it removes almost all purpose from living, and from reality.  Why should we continue if our life is accidental?  It is one of the reasons I find problems with Macroevolution.  It leaves much to be desired, and requires a real spark in order to begin instead of the random.

But that is of little consequence.  This episode was really fun, and my first taste of Tom Baker. And it was sublime.  Now, does anybody want a jelly-baby?

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/11 in Television

 

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Following Falling Skies Finale: “Eight Hours”

This episode finishes out the epically gripping first season of Falling Skies.  The story is very simple.  Weaver and the fighters in the 2nd Massachusetts have set out to bomb the Skitter HQ, but are finding difficulties.  Meanwhile, Rick turns on the entire 2nd Mass, while Ben is still learning to access his new abilities.  Tom has to handle all of this.

This episode was action-packed, and really captivating.  I did want to notice that this story did really bring out more “curiousities” about the Skitters.  First off, they reject one of their own (Rick), while also being puzzled by our behavior.  The ending really brought that out when they asked to “Negotiate”.  It was mind blowing.

What is great is that the 2nd Mass is finally finding weapons they can use against the Mechs, and are turning the combat tides.

Overall, the season was thrilling, gripping, and enjoyable.  It was a great show that was action packed and thoughtful.  I cannot wait for the next season.

 
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Posted by on 2011/08/08 in Television

 

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