Five Questions I Need Answered about Sci-Fi Movies: Part One

 

I’m a big fan of sci-fi movies (if you couldn’t guess). I love the good, I love the bad, and if I’m desparate enough – I’ll even love the ugly (in the immortal words of Quagmire: But they gotta pay). That isn’t to say I’m a robot that will defend any science fiction flick to the death; quite the opposite. If anything, I tend to be too harsh a critic. Genre films (and books and authors) tend to get a bad wrap in the world of “real movies and books”. People expect them to be bad and don’t take them seriously. So when a bad sci-fi movie comes out, it only furthers the stereotype that genre works shouldn’t be taken seriously. Bad sci-fi makes people cringe more than any other movie type (outside of a Mcconaughey flick).

Sometimes I’m left puzzled by how a movie gets made and released to the public. Anyone see Apollo 18? No? Good, good. Let’s keep it that way. More puzzling than an overall terrible movie is a terrible scene or idea in a movie. Maybe its because I’m OCD (in the crazy counting things sort of way, not the I like to clean house a lot helpful way), but sometimes I’ll see something in a movie and I just can’t let it go. The entire movie my thoughts will be dominated by a singular obsession: why did they do that? So much so that it can ruin an entire film for me.

With that in mind, here is the first of five things that have completely snapped me out of a series and made me obsess.

#1 Star Wars

I grew up a huge Star Wars fan. I thought I was Luke Skywalker; everyone else thought I was Jabba the Hut, but that’s another story. I remember watching the films at school (the first came out the year I was born). I had walked past a portable classroom with its door open and there was a crowd of children sitting in the dark watching television. I took a step inside, saw my first glimpse of a lightsaber, and never left. Literally – I still haven’t graduated the second grade.

Thank God for bad teaching, because the teacher didn’t even realize I was there. From that point on, I’ve probably quoted the movie at least once a day, used the force to open peanut butter jars and automatic doors, and even breathed asthmatically like Darth Vader (I didn’t fall in lava, I’m just really fat).

Fast forward x number of years, and the three new Star Wars movies were released. I sat through the Phantom Grimace three times in a row thanks to a neurotic boss, then a fourth time thanks to a neurotic girlfriend later that same night. The experience tainted me as a Star Wars Fan, but I was still able to enjoy the original.

Until the other night.

Spike TV showed a marathon of the original series the other weekend and I DVR’d it with glee. I hadn’t seen the original as an adult, and wanted to see how it would hold up. Several nights later I finally got the opportunity to watch the first movie, A New Hope, and several things quickly tickled the back of my brain. Some of them were open to logical discussion: why was the princess of a planet on the front lines in a war? What skills did she possess to protect secret plans about the Death Star? If they have all this fancy equipment, why didn’t she just call Obi Wan on her cellphone?

I could get past all of that. I could move past the scene where Obi Wan thinks its a great idea to put a helmet on Luke, making him blind, and then telling him to use a lightsaber in a room the size of my bathroom – the guy wasn’t even trained yet.

What I couldn’t move past though was this: Why does Chewbacca have a mustache?

 chewie_mustacherides

Maybe that sounds ridiculous. But for me, the guy is already covered in fur. Red fur. But when they do a close-up of the guys face, he has a black mustache resting ON TOP of the red fur.

Chewbacca_stache

As I watched the rest of the movie, I couldn’t let it go. Everytime I saw him it bothered me. It also bothered me that a guy would travel the galaxy with a giant bigfoot that constantly screamed in his ear. Can you imagine flying through the peaceful quiet of space and having a werewolf howl the entire trip? I can barely spend half an hour in a car with someone speaking. And Han didn’t have the benefit of a radio to block it out (another point of contention).

So my question is: why the stache-on-stache action?

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About James Payne

James Payne was born in Augusta, Georgia and has been writing since the age of 6. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Developer Shed, Inc and Garbled Transmissions. His work has appeared in print and on the web 400+ times and his first book, Beginning Python: Using Python 2.6 and 3.1, was recently published by John Wiley and Sons.