TV Review – Another Life: Full Season

TL;DR – A campy schlocky mess at times, but also kind of endearing when it hits its groove

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Another Life. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

We have been living through an interesting time for Science Fiction on TV, with the rise of streaming services we have seen a plethora of new shows and ideas that both look to the future and reinterpret the past. Today we are getting a Sci-fi show that kind of does both, building upon very real concerns in the world but framing it in a style of Sci-Fi that we have not seen in a long time. With that in mind let’s jump in and explore the full first season.

So to set the scene, we open with a normal day on Earth in the not too distant future after the world has been devastated by a second great depression and the great flood. Things are starting to return to some sort of normalcy when an alien ship smashes through the atmosphere flies across the USA and crashes into a field transforming itself into a huge crystalline lattice. Months later, they are still no closer to finding out what the artefact is or wants, but they have picked up a transmission to the Pi Canis Majoris solar system. To work out what to do they send the USIC Salvare under the command of Niko Breckinridge (Katee Sackhoff) out to investigate. Niko had to leave her daughter Jana (Lina Renna) and her husband Erik (Justin Chatwin) behind as Erik is leading the scientific mission at the crash site. But before too long things start going wrong, and we still don’t know if the aliens are friends or foe.  Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Another Life: Across the Universe

TL;DR – This is one of those Sci-Fi shows that has you wondering what the hook is going to be and then it hits you.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Another Life: Across the Universe. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

While there have been a lot of issues, one of the best things to come out of the new streaming world has been a new wave or really interesting Science Fiction TV shows. At the heart of this, but by no means the only contributor, has been Netflix that has had a huge slate of really interesting Sci-Fi content. Well, today we get to take a look at its newest addition Another Life with an exploration of its pilot episode Across the Universe.  

Overall, there was a lot of interesting facets in this first episode, but one thing I really liked was the production. The design for the Salvare has facets that are instantly recognisable but also are a little unique. The rings have a visual language of a rotating gravity ship, but there is internal gravity so there is an interesting juxtaposition. The standing sets are also really interesting mixing a bland of high-tech and also maybe-we-filmed-this-in-a-warehouse-somewhere that kind of works. Also, I am a sucker for astronomy, so you had me sucked in the moment you stopped at Sirius A, which they showed in all its glory.

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Video Game Review – Stellaris: Ancient Relics

TL;DR – A fantastic addition to the base game that really improves the exploration phase.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Stellaris: Ancient Relics. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Review –
 Last year I got back into Stellaris a 4X space strategy game, a combination that feels like a video game designed just for me. Over the years it has had a lot of improvements building upon the strengths of the base game. Since then there have been a couple of expansion packs and DLCs and today we are looking the latest addition for the game Ancient Relics.

The core component of this new story pack is the addition of archaeological digs and from this the addition of minor and major artifacts. As you explore out at the start of the game you may stumble across archaeological digs on random planets. These require a science ship to work them much like anomalies but with a little twist. There is a random element in the process where you have a chance to improve until you crack the next level. Most of the digs have multiple levels that you have to progress to before you can complete it and earn research points, resources, or more.

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Movie Review – Kin (2018)

TL;DR –  An example of a great concept and acting, not quite working due to the format.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Kin. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Review

As a fan of Science Fiction, I really enjoy seeing new ideas brought to the screen, even if they don’t always work out as well as they hoped. Today we get to look and just such a film that is filled with heart and some really interesting ideas, but maybe a film was not the right format to properly express it. With that in mind let’s delve into a story about a boy and his gun.

So to set the scene, we open in on Elijah “Eli” Solinski (Myles Truitt) who lives in Detroit with his adopted father Hal (Dennis Quaid). Eli has been struggling at school, he is a good kid but he has anger management issues (well if kids were making fun of your dead mother, I would not be shocked if you threw a punch or two). One day as Eli was stripping out some wiring from an abandoned factory we stumble across the site of a battle between two alien forces. On the ground are a number of corpses and on box shape gun that Eli drops when one of the bodies move. Back home Hal lets him know to set another plate for dinner because Eli’s older brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor) just got out of prison, but Eli needs to be careful around Jimmy. Which is not an unreasonable statement because what they don’t know is that Jimmy is in debt to Balik (James Franco) a local gangster to the tune of $60,000 for protection while he was in jail and soon Jimmy brings that damage into the house.

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Movie Review – Rim of the World

TL;DR –  This is fun adventure flick in the tradition of saving the world being thrust upon young people. A fun cast, a good set up, and a good use of world building.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Rim of the World. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If you have read this site before you will know I am a fan of the alien invasion genre, indeed Independence Day is one of my top ten films of all time. So I am always interested to see different takes on the genre, to see where they can take the formula. Today we are looking at the newest Netflix film based around this very scenario, but also more than many films I have seen this year, Rim of the World both knows what it is and what it wants to do, and at all times it succeeds in these core drives.

So to set the scene, we open on the first day of summer camp as kids from around Los Angeles and further come together to have a fun time away. Alex (Jack Gore) is a space enthusiast who likes to live in his world of screens, but there is a reason for his isolation. Zhen Zhen (Miya Cech) has secretly flown across the Pacific to attend the camp in an attempt to overcome her disappointed father. Dariush (Benjamin Flores Jr.) is full of bluster, the rich kid that has it all, and cares more about his sneakers than other humans, but then it is all a shield. There is also Gabriel (Alessio Scalzotto) who no one quite knows why he is here. Rim of the World adventure camp is full of zip lines, canoe rides, and camp counsellors that may have needed more of a background check before starting work, so your usual summer camp. However, while all that is happening the International Space Station is being destroyed because entering high orbit is an alien mothership and as people will find out as the sky explodes, they are not here to make new friends.

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Movie Review – Prospect (2018)

TL;DR – A sci-fi film that excels in creating atmosphere in both world building but also in creating a suffocating feel.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Prospect. Image Credit: Gunpowder & Sky.

Review

I don’t think it is any great surprise that I am a fan of science fiction, I’ll take it any way I can get it. However, it is a rare film that captures my attention for doing things a little different and Prospect is such a film. Instead of big battle scenes and space opera set pieces, it focuses on building atmosphere and exploring the lives of its characters.

So to set the scene, we open in space convey ship as Cee (Sophie Thatcher) is listening in to some music only to forget to be back in their pod in time. She lives on the edges of society with her father Damon (Jay Duplass) trying to scavenge whatever they can to stay afloat. They are over a moon that is covered in a forest (the green) that produces toxic spores that make it impossible to breathe for more than a few seconds. However, it is home to some biological gems that are quite profitable if you can find a site that was not picked clean during the rush. Landing off course, they have to go overland to their job site when they run into Ezra (Pedro Pascal) and his crew. Setting off a tense scene because the Convoy ship is leaving in three cycles and it is not coming back which is just the moment everything falls apart.    

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TV Review – The Orville: The Road Not Taken and Season 2

TL;DR – Time travel, parallel universes, and the end of the universe, oh my.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Orville: The Road Not Taken. Image Credit: Fox.

Review

Time travel is a dangerous thing because you never know just what you may accidentally do. Today we are looking at the second part of an interesting look at the past of The Orville. It gives us time to see characters in a new light, in new circumstances, and asks the question: what could really happen when you know the future?

So to set the scene, at the end of Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) was meant to be sent back in time with her memories wiped so she could not accidentally change the crew’s past and her future because of the knowledge she knows. Well at the end of last week’s episode we discover that the memory wipe didn’t take, and out of a need to not cause any pain Kelly decides not to accept Ed’s (Seth MacFarlane) proposal for a second date. I mean that can’t change anything, right, it is just one date, right …? Well, as it turns out it might have changed everything. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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