Article – Why I Love Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ/Kaubōi Bibappu)

TL;DR – Its music, story, animation, worldbuilding, and characters that you really care for even though they are all broken in some way

Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ/Kaubōi Bibappu). Image Credit: Madman.

Article

A while back I took a moment to write about Why I loved Star Trek DS9 and since it was a great time of writing I have been meaning to get back at it again. I had a couple of choices but with the announcement that Netflix is producing a ten-episode live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop, well I got instantly dragged back in time to my high school days when the show rippled through my life with every beat of those conga drums, and well I instantly knew what to do next. Why Cowboy Bebop? Well, there are a lot of reasons, the music, story, animation, characters, but more than anything, it was the way it shaped how I viewed television and animation as a medium and got me more and more interested with how it is all made. It is also one of the go-to shows, as well as Samurai Champloo (サムライチャンプル), that I recommend whenever someone want to start exploring animation. So with that in mind let us dive into the neo-noir space-western from Shinichirō Watanabe (渡辺 信一郎) all about trying to escape the past and then realising that you can’t, and then also Ed, hello Ed.

In the Cowboy Bebop world, the human race has expanded out into the Solar System when the first Astral Gate (a faster than light transport system) exploded next to The Moon raining down Luna debris on Earth. The world had one choice escape or die on Earth and so they expanded out terraforming the Moons of Jupiter, Venus, creating the crater cities of Mars, and also Asteroid outposts across the Solar System like Tijuana (TJ). By 2071, because the human race is spread out across such a large region of space it has meant that enforcing law and order has become a challenge, so the powers at be implemented a bounty system and so Cowboys spread out chasing bounties and bringing back criminals to face justice … for a fee of course. This is where we meet our crew of the Bebop the ship they travel around the Solar System catching criminals while trying not to have to spend all its bounty on repairs.  

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Article – Why I Love Star Trek: First Contact

TL;DR – From the action to the story and the music. First Contact captures a real moment in Science Fiction history and is still probably my favourite Star Trek film.

Star Trek: First Contact. Image Credit: Paramount.

Article

As the march of time continues forth, I was reminded that it has been twenty-three years since Star Trek: First Contact came out in cinemas. Goodness, 1996, such a long time ago, a time when I was not even in high school. However, in all the time since and before I don’t think any Star Trek film has had the same impact on me (though Wrath of Khan and Beyond come pretty close). As the time is right, and we all know how important time is, let’s dive into the joy that is Star Trek: First Contact.

So to set the scene, in Generations the USS Enterprise-D was destroyed by assailants and so a new ship the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E was commissioned with all our familiar faces making the transition. However, just with the Enterprise is in the middle of its shakedown cruise the worst possible news happens. The Borg are back. A large cube ship is on a trajectory with Earth but the Enterprise cannot help as Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) was once assimilated by the Borg and Starfleet wants it away from the battle. But to hell with orders, which is good because this time the Borg is messing with the timeline and only the Enterprise can fix the damage before it is too late.

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Exploring the Past – Alone in Space (Ensamma i Rymden)

TL;DR – A charming little Science Fiction film even though it does have a few rough edges   

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Alone in Space (Ensamma i Rymden). Image Credit: Nice Drama.

Review

If you have read our site before, you’ll know that we are all about new Science Fiction films and ways they explore the genre. This year I have wanted to branch out and see how other countries are approaching Science Fiction to broaden my cinematic experience and today we get to do that with Alone in Space a film about being trapped alone in space from Sweden.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Svea XVI an escape ship form a dying Earth, but instead of being filled with colonists/refugees the only ones on board are Gladys (Ella Rae Rappaport) and her younger brother Keaton (Dante Fleischanderl). They try and get through the day, fixing what they can of the ship, scavenging food and stuff in their journeys and talking to the ship’s Japanese AI Otosan. Well one day there is a crash, sending everything on the ship flying. Thinking it was some debris they ignore it and go about fixing the ship only to discover they are no longer alone.  

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TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

TL;DR – This is a great episode that shows the strength of the Short Trek formula with some truly delightful moments

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

Review

We are back with another season of Short Treks, one of the more novel experiments that have come out of this third Star Trek TV resurgence. These are a number of shorts in and around the Star Trek universe (mostly but this season not exclusively around Star Trek Discovery). Like last year’s The Escape Artist that looked at Harry Mudd. Today we get to dive back into this world with a fun look at someone’s first day on the job.

So to set the scene, it is Ensign Spock’s (Ethan Peck) first day on the job. After a long flight to Starbase 40, he beams aboard and is welcomed by Number One (Rebecca Romijn). After some pleasantries, Number One decides to show the new ensign the Bridge only for the turbolift to fail on transit giving them a lot of time to chat.

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Movie Review – Quantification Trilogy

TL;DR – A fascinating experimental film that I think would work much better as three shirt films that one complete future    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Warning – There is extensive use of Strobe Lighting in the second part of the trilogy.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Quantification Trilogy. Image Credit: Jeremy Shaw.

Review


Today we look at a film that is truly experimental in scope and form. It is a film that has taken footage from the past (I believe) and then repurposed it into something new. This transformation in tone and purpose through editing is not something I have seen before.

So to set the scene, in the distant future the human race has become extinct, replaced instead by quantum humans and their universal connection to the hive. However, there are some quantum humans that due to a genetic quirk have reverted a little back to their long-dead human ancestors. These Quickeners have gathered together in Area 23 in the long-abandoned American continent to practice old rituals and to find some meaning away from the hive.

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TV Review – The Expanse: Season 3

TL;DR – This is and continues to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Expanse. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

I mentioned back in my look at the New Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A. Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well, I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.

So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante the crew are dealing with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others make the tough calls?    

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Movie Review – In the Shadow of the Moon

TL;DR – A fascinating look at an issue and how people would react to it as we watch a man’s life fall apart around him.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

In the Shadow of the Moon. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If you want my interest in a film, you need to take something familiar and twist it, say a serial murder with more going on. Of course, once you have an interesting premise, you need to follow it up, which is not always the case, but today we see a film that comes very close to nailing those two parts. So very close.    

So to set the scene, it is a quiet night in Philadelphia when all of a sudden a woman collapses while driving a bus crashing into multiple cars before being taken out but a cement truck. When the police get to the scene they discover that the driver is covered in her own blood after something liquefied her brain. Three puncture wounds were in her neck, which would be bad, but across the city three more people collapse in the same way. Beat cop Thomas (Boyd Holbrook) makes the link between the three victims and after finding a forth still alive they have a clue only to find everything is much more complicated than they ever thought because the Jane Doe (Cleopatra Coleman) know who Tom is and that his daughter is about to be born.   

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