L13FC: Two Sci-Fi Heavyweights

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Pete says:

I’m afraid you had to be there at the time, to imagine how amazing it looked to a teenager in 1968. Orbiting satellites, strange shapes, and the passing through the Star Gate sequence, very like the psychedelic experiences being experimented by many young people during the late 1960s. The use of both classical and modern music was suitably injected to reflect the mood in certain scenes, and I recall being captivated by the use of “The Blue Danube” during a particular episode in the film.

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Watching it years later, I was understandably less impressed. There is little dialogue in much of the film, which often leaves the viewer making up their own minds about what is happening. The best parts are undoubtedly those involving the computer H.A.L., and his interaction with the astronauts. Someone I know who doesn’t like the film told me that they found it to be ‘Pretentious and overblown, often dull and dragging.’ That wasn’t how I saw it, forty-eight years ago.

Fast forward to 1982. I am now thirty years old, and heading into a cinema to see another science fiction film. Based on a short story by Philip  K. Dick, Blade Runner was directed by Ridley Scott, who was fast becoming one of my favourite film-makers. Five years earlier, I had watched his first feature, The Duelists, and been blown away. Two years after that, he directed Alien in 1979. This new film had been hyped to the limit, and also starred some actors that I knew and respected, including Rutger Hauer, and Harrison Ford. I left the cinema that evening completely believing that I had just seen one of the best and most complete films ever made. I have seen it many times since in almost every version. I still feel the same way about it today.

I have to say that it is a far better film than 2001. Why do I think that?

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This takes a familiar genre, Film noir, and gives it a mix of traditional gumshoe detective films, a femme fatale, and adds a wonderful mix of memorable characters in the smaller roles. At times it feels like a western, at others, a sinister, futuristic warning. It is all things to all viewers, they take from it what they like best, and discard the rest. Somber lighting reflects the mood of the scenes, and the constant rain provides a relentless backdrop to the miserable existence of people in an America of the near future. Most buildings are dilapidated and unloved, even new apartments feel small and cramped. There is a nod to the possible make-up of future populations, with some cast members talking in a language that is a strange mixture of oriental dialects and English. The off-world life in space is referenced, but the action takes place on sets that are brilliantly conceived and executed. In a story set around the creation of incredible human-like robots, known as Replicants, we still have retro devices, and conventional clothing. Next to cars that can fly as well as drive on the road, there are old buses, airships, and umbrellas. It is familiar, yet strange, and that is the secret that makes it so captivating.

Cindy’s thoughts: 

The reason these two films have been frequently paired as the best examples of Science Fiction is because they have influenced all subsequent attempts. Before CGI, these two films had believable worlds that blew your mind away. How Kubrick filmed 2001: A Space Odyssey is as interesting as what he had to say. (Has anyone figured it out?) Predicting the future always interests me. I remember when January 1, 1980 clicked to a reality, I wondered what 1990 would be like. 2001 seemed far away and November 2017 too far past my imagination. The future that was, is now the present. We have tablets and Skype. HAL is close and A.I. probably within the next 20 years.  Thank you, Pete, for co-hosting this month’s Lucky 13 Film Club. Make sure you stop by his excellent blog found  HERE

Which film is better? What is it about Science Fiction that appeals to you?

 

 

98 thoughts on “L13FC: Two Sci-Fi Heavyweights

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  1. I am a huge fan of both films. Although they both fall under the category of science fiction, they are so vastly different that comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. I slightly favor the contemplative and enigmatic “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I actually like the fact that it has little dialogue. (Some of my favorite cinematic “moments” are the opening sequence in “Once Upon a Time in the West” and the museum sequence in “Dressed to Kill.). Kubrick chose to minimize dialogue and maximize music and imagery. You’ll notice that the dialogue is not only spare, but it’s also incredibly (and intentionally) mundane and low key. As memorable as HAL 9000’s lines are, they are voiced softly and with little, if any, intonation. Without the clutter of meaningful dialogue, the film becomes more of a sensory experience. It’s also frequently meditative. The viewer is given ample time to ponder the philosophical questions that Kubrick and Clarke raise about human destiny. Having said all that, I absolutely love “Blade Runner,” and I appreciate it for all the reasons Pete mentions. I think an interesting comparison of the two films would be how one film addresses humans vs. computers and the other humans vs. androids. A third film, Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” which has a Kubrick connection, could also enter into such a discussion.

    1. Thanks for the considered comment, David. I agree that the films are as different as apples and oranges, but our intention was to look at the evolution of the sci-fi genre, using these two films as a starting point, and try to get some debate going as to which type of film the readers prefer. Will it be ‘contemplative and enigmatic’, or ‘neo-noir and interesting androids’? We will see.
      Best wishes, Pete.

    2. Thank you for your contribution. Absolutely! You are spot on! I think Space Odyssey is the better film overall. I like that you mentioned the music plays a dominant role and dialogue is downplayed. Do you have a concept of what the meaning is all about? Blade Runner is more entertaining and truly different. I thought of A.I. too when I thought of Blade Runner. The artistry before CGI is magical.

  2. I didn’t get that Deckard was a Replicant also the first time I saw Bladerunner. The”Good One”.
    We are challenged: What constitutes Life/consciousness/Beingness? What animates these bodies?
    In both movies the artificial lifeforms are more Human than the Humans. HAL has more personality and emotion than the astronauts. Roy values Life more than his creators.
    In Bladerunner the writing is often inspired.

    1. Thanks, JC. I have heard various arguments concerning whether or not Ford’s character is a replicant. I tend to agree with those who believe that he is. You have nailed the similarity of both films, which is that the machines have the humanity found lacking in the humans. As for the script of ‘Blade Runner’, the quality speaks for itself, with so many memorable lines, and the speech you featured in the clip.
      Thanks again for joining in. Much appreciated.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. didnt they add the bit about deckard being a replicant in one of the many re-visions of the picture? in dick’s novelette, there was no suggestion of his being a replicant. but then, the movie was an entirely different affair from the book which had an altogether different story and theme. i loved the first version, with the old school voiceover and thought all subsequent versions were inferior. although there was was very little noir aesthetic in the film, it could be considered a futuristic noir in the sense that altman’s the long goodbye was a futuristic version of philip marlowe in 1970’s LA and blade runner takes a similar, if much less interesting character, and places him even further into LA’s future. The opening shots of “Blade Runner” renewed my enthusiasm for science fiction movies. The art direction alone was years ahead of the clunky look of “Star Wars,” setting new standards that have been as influential on science fiction as “Apocalypse Now” was on war pictures. I believed Ridley Scott’s vision of a future Los Angeles so completely that I could not imagine the city’s growth in any other way. Although “Blade Runner’s” influence was apparent in a majority of the science fiction pictures that came after it, none surpassed or even equalled it. although Paul Verhoeven’s futuristic trilogy Robo CopTotal Recall and Starship Troopers came close. Sadly,it was to be the continuation of the Lucas-Spielberg mentality that would win the hearts and minds of the world’s moviegoers, squeezing the life not only out of the science fiction and fantasy genres, but reducing cinema itself to a poison akin to the Nestle’s baby formula that, at the same time, was raising infant mortality in South America to criminal heights.

        1. I also thought Ridley Scott’s vision of a futuristic Los Angeles was brilliant. I thought of you when I saw this yesterday. It had so much of Spielberg’s A.I. in it. It gave me an insight to why you dislike him. What a shame The Martian was such a disappointment in comparison to Blade Runner & Alien.

    2. Deckard tells us that Replicants collect pictures/photos because they have no past of their own.
      Deckard’s piano is covered with pictures.
      That’s the first giveaway.

      1. I’ve seen a couple different versions of “Blade Runner,” including the happy ending version with the voiceover. I agree that the photos are a giveaway. In the 117 minute director’s cut I have on DVD, there is a unicorn origami shown at the end which validates that, at least in this version, Deckard is indeed a replicant,

  3. I told Pete, all of us that saw 2001 talked about it the meaning of movie for quite a while, but Blade Runner, I read the book and never saw the movie.

    1. GP, if I lived nearer, I would bring you a copy to watch! I have met so few people who have not seen ‘Blade Runner’, and now I know one more. Thanks for your thoughts on 2001.
      Best wishes, Pete.

    2. I like Pete’s description of Blade Runner as a gumshoe detective story. It was perfectly set in Los Angeles with a Femme Fatale. How about that psychotic barbie doll? Hannah was perfect. I still have nightmares!

      1. the trouble with Hannah was that the character was supposed to be the same android model as Rachel. that is an important part of the story and it was lost with two actresses playing the parts. I enjoyed watching Hannah’s performance, but Sean Young should have played both roles.

  4. I really love both of these, it’s so difficult to pick a favourite. They’re both seminal, but for different reasons: 2001 really seemed to usher in grandiose ideas and star-spinning voyages to mainstream audiences. Fewer things in cinema have impressed me more than 2001’s natural journey from the beginning of humankind to its apparent end. Blade Runner manages to evoke a real futuristic aura and yet it remains rooted in the gritty, grimy reality of our tense world. It also seems to transcend time, in that I imagine it held just as much political and cultural relevance in 1982 as it does in 2016. Sci-fi is probably my favourite genre because it really can go anywhere and, more than any other, it thrives via thematic exploration and societal analysis These films are wonderful representations of those things.

      1. Huge fan. One of my favourite directors. He’s made two absolute sci-fi gems in Inception and Interstellar (the former obviously more thriller than sci-fi), so it’d be hard to argue against Kubrick comparisons. I know some people were a bit miffed by Interstellar, but it worked for me and then some. Are you a fan Cindy?

  5. Thanks very much, Adam. No need to pick a favourite, as your observations on both make for a welcome and interesting read. For my part, I think that the fantastic future portrayed in ‘2001’ seems a little closer, but still far out of reach. The dystopian world of ‘Blade Runner’, by contrast, seems to have already arrived. (Without the replicants, or flying cars, but you get the idea…)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Yeah, I’d agree Pete. Blade Runner taps into social issues with great impetus — perhaps more so because it’s set in an urban city as opposed to on a space vessel — and said issues definitely reflect those plaguing our present (class, poverty, capitalism, authority, and so on). The technological elements of 2001 are on point with our technology-driven society, though of course A.I. and the like haven’t quite arrived. I wonder where the genre goes next.

  6. Other than the fact they fall under the loose umbrella of sci-fi, these two are so different I’m not sure I could compare them and say which one I prefer. I suppose as much as I admire 2001, Blade Runner’s the film that I’ve watched far more often over the years, and I completely identify with Pete’s comment that his appreciation for it never diminishes. I feel exactly the same. Last year I saw it on the big screen for the first time, too, an experience that was long overdue and thoroughly enjoyable; it was Ridley Scott’s Final Cut, but I’ve seen it in its many incarnations over the years. The special effects still hold up today, which is quite an achievement given how dated many other films of the era now seem, and it also contains one of my favourite soundtracks. One of my all-time favourites!

    1. Thanks, Stu. The reason I prefer Blade Runner over 2001 is the watchability. 2001 was stunning at the time, but doesn’t hold up to repeated viewings over decades (at least for me) whereas I could watch Blade Runner every month, still enjoy it, and probably find something new, or something I hadn’t remembered. I don’t necessarily prefer Scott over Kubrick, as I think their strengths are different, yet equal in many respects.
      I wouldn’t say this was a direct comparison of the two films, just a way of assessing the evolution of the genre, and whether or not we prefer the old to the new.
      I don’t do top tens, but if I did, Blade Runner would be in it, for sure.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  7. having grown up in the fifties, i had already seen a couple hundred classic science fiction movies by the time 2001 came along, and i didnt think it compared well with the best of them. i saw it the first time on the curved cinerama screen and thought it something of a cheat because it was not in true cinerama. but over the decades i have grown quite fond of the picture not for the SF aspects, but for how it seems to me to be central to kubrick’s philosophy of humanity. Throw that bone up in the air and it could come down just about anywhere and as practically anything. that bone could turn into a space station or a doomsday machine or a mynphet. for me 2001 is not the story of the evolution of humanity, but the cosmic journey of one man, ho begins consiousness as the moon watcher ape and ends it as the starchild who returns to earth to destroy all life there. and in the course of his incarnations, he empties his consciousness into a machine and,as that machine, follows the destructive urges that will eventually destroy the earth. Dave uses HAL the same way Humbert Humbert uses Quilty, and the caretaker of The Shining uses Jack Torrance. Kubrick throws the bone in the air and it could come down as anybody, . In the history of movies, 2001 will always stand as a landmark in science fiction. The only single movie that I feel successfully challenges its position in the canon is Tarkovsky’s “Solaris,” But that could be because the great catalog of SF movies is significant because of their mass,not because of the individual merits of any single movie. And 2001 has little to do with that giant wave of pulp fiction that engendered those hundreds of movies.

    1. As always, Bill, you present an experienced and intelligent assessment, and I am not about to argue with your interpretation of the film. I was overwhelmed by 2001 at the time of release, and doubted anything would better the concept. When Blade Runner came along, I bought into it completely, became hooked on its ideas, sets, and characters in a way that I could never get involved in the Kubrick film.
      And regarding your earlier comment, I also have a soft spot for the original cinema version, with the voice over, and ‘happy’ ending. Although there is no suggestion in Dick’s story that Deckard is a replicant, I think the film changes that idea, and we are steered into considering that he might be. I know I was.
      Thanks as always for your valuable input, and best wishes to you and your family.
      Pete.

      1. Pete, I dont buy this interpretation of the ending either. I think clarkejust made that up for the novelization as an easy fix to the question of what the ending meant. for years, i thought Dave wasbecoming a literal star..but now I dont see it that way. I think he has returned to earth to be born again this time maybe as Alex I like the idea of ll these star children hovering above the atmosphere of earth, waiting to be born. it brings to mind the yeats (i think it was yeats) poem about the beast who is slouching toward bethlehem, waiting to be born. but the end is open to any interpretarion. I stand by my interpretation of HAL as Dave’s doppelganger though. why else would HAL sing bicycle built for Two while dying? also, the idea fits in so wellwith the doppelgangers from other Kubrick films. Thanks for doing the 13 club this month Pete. I enjoyed your insights on both films.

    2. Fantastic explanation, Bill. The Kubrick themes and the connection between 2001 and his other classics are true and I hadn’t thought of it before. There is that element of the Greek tragedy in his work, isn’t there, that we are pawns to the Gods and manipulated.

      1. Cindy, I dont think his characters are fated to a tragic end nd i think they have free will within the confines of their own personalities. I see them more as Pirandellian creations, subject to the whims of their author. Every actor knows the frustration of always having to play parts assigned by the director when the actor feels himself more suitable to another role.In Kubrick’s heroes can design their own fates, but are confined within the limitations of the character as designed by the author. Humbert Humbert will always be a pedophile, but by projecting his vices into the imaginary Quilty, and them killing Quilty (the same situation and action as David’s murder of HAL) he may be able to free himself of the compulsion to act upon his vice.

      2. I am very pleased that you enjoyed this topic, Bill. After watching ‘2001’ on release, I remember we engaged in a lot of very pretentious debate about the meaning of the film, and specifically about the ending. It was all very 1960s, and somewhat clouded by the use of recreational drugs at the time. I recall pontificating that it all meant that aliens had populated the planet as some kind of experiment. They monitored this with the mysterious monoliths, and eventually, it came full circle, with an alien hybrid being born.
        It sounds like a lot of balderdash now, but made sense to me back then.
        I rarely try to analyse any films these days, and prefer to enjoy them (or not) for the initial impact, or occasional originality. maybe that ‘new me’ started with ‘Blade Runner.’
        Regards, Pete.

  8. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen 2001 so I will have to revisit. I really love the ending of the film. Lynchian comes to mind but of course Lynch was probably still making shorts and paintings in college. I don’t tend to remember a lot of that first half. I like a slow burn but as others have commented here it is slow paced for a lot of the film. When HAL ‘malfunctions,’ the film goes into another gear. As a kid when I saw the astronaut float away I felt a great deal of sadness but I felt similar sadness when HAL spoke his last words even though he’d caused that death. All you need is something recognisable and/or relatable to create empathy. As an AI, HAL creates interesting questions about what it is to be human and that is in a film that is all about examining humanity. The ending stays with me reaching that wonderful crescendo of sound and imagery with the ‘space baby’. Instantly iconic no wonder there have been so many spoofs throughout the years. What’s interesting is that both are timeless classics and yet reflective of their times. The clean sterile environments of 2001 were of a future imagined in the 60s. Only 14 years later Blade Runner really created the steampunk look and changed the way the future was imagined in movies for years to come. Yet both evoke nostalgia for the 60s and 80s. They are of their time and yet not. I feel 2001 has these really classic images and moments that leave a bigger imprint that the great visual film maker Ridley Scott’s work on Blade Runner and yet the story and characters haunt me more in Blade Runner. I’ll give it to Blade Runner. Certainly you can watch both again and again and discover new things.

    1. Lloyd, fine insights, indeed! Yes, the only way you can compare these two dissimilar classics is by noticing their impact to the generation at hand and our link to them as predictors of the future, now arrived. Technically, 2001 is masterful but the story grabs you in “Blade Runner”. I’m with you.

  9. Pete what a special treat to see 2001 on the big screen with that giant leap forward in special effects at the time. 2001 of course was an instant classic though. What was it like seeing Blade Runner looking so amazing on the big screen and then having it disappear from cinemas so quickly. Have you experienced people discovering it after you did and feeling like you knew a secret from the beginning?

    1. Hi Lloyd. You are right about 2001. When it was released, our concept was of a future where we would be wearing silver one-piece suits, and flying Pan-Am to the stars. But we soon realised that wasn’t going to happen. A relatively short time later, Blade Runner came along, and with it a presentation of a future that was all too possible.
      Constant rain, confusing language, one huge corporation controlling almost everything, and yet still a reliance on old buildings, conventional clothing, and a man with a gun to get the bad guys. I think Scott’s vision was more accurate, and still do, which is why I prefer it.
      When I saw it at the cinema, I thought “This is how it might be.” And it almost is. As for ‘knowing the secret’, everyone else I knew at the time also saw it, and most agreed with me, that it was a wonderful film, and that it was going to achieve a cult following. So, we had no secret, just a shared passion.
      I never got into the ‘Star Wars’ films, or LOTR, and definitely not ‘Star Trek.’ But those franchises have their loyal and devoted fans. For me, one film was enough to get the same feeling, and I would dread a sequel, prequel, or- God forbid- a modern remake.
      Thanks for your contribution, and best wishes from Norfolk.
      Pete.

      1. Thanks Pete. Sequel is on the way with Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford to be directed by the guy who just did Sicario. I have a tempered reaction to that. I like the talent involved but it is highly unlikely they’ll catch lightning in a bottle twice. I suspect I’ll just treat it as its own thing and leave the original up on the pedestal by itself but who knows maybe they’ll pull it off.

      2. I had heard about the sequel., and was hoping it was just a dream…Still, I am one of the few people who actually like ‘Prometheus’, so it might be OK. (But I doubt it…)
        Regards, Pete.

    1. 2001 has some compelling visuals indeed, but I might argue that many of the scenes in Blade Runner have stayed in my mind longer, perhaps for different reasons. Thanks for commenting, Jordan, and for the firm decision on your favourite.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  10. Cindy,I don’t think Ridley Scott made a good picture after Blade Runner, so why pick on “The Martian,” which was at least decent, and a cut above the average SF picture of today? The best SF I have seen lately is this years “The Lobster” and last year’s “Predestination.” As a stand alone movie, I prefer Blade Runner to 2001, but the latter is a much better candidate for academic study, as Kubrick is a truly fascinating director, whose themes and style crisscross throughout his entire career. The circular motif in the set design of 2001 and Dr Strangelove is more interesting than anything n blade runner. But 2001 is a rather dull movie, with the director more interested in filming the sets than the actors,. while Blade Runner is pure entertainment,even though the script is a travesty of its source material.

    1. Welcome, Bill. It’s always nice to hear from you. The Martian did not work for me–the book as well as the film adaptation was a disappointment to me for a few reasons like the happy-go-lucky protagonist, the ensemble cast back on earth, the music, the predictable climax/ending. And there’s quite a few who disliked Gladiator but I thought it thoroughly entertaining for several reasons. Regardless, I have not heard of “The Lobster” described as Science Fiction, so that is intriguing. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet but the surreal is appealing. No comment for “Predestination” either . I’ve been meaning to watch it but have not had the opportunity. Thank you for the reminder. Absolutely agree with Kubrick as the fascinating director. His motifs, as you point out, and his tricks before CGI are brilliant.

      1. Cindy, I know that you disliked The Martian, but my question was why, after having made so many duds after Blade Runner, did you single that movie out as the big let down after bladerunner. As I see it his whole career was a gargantuan let-down after Alien and Blade Runner.

      2. one common failing of most SF pictures is that the characters act like contemporary people. And I dont mean only in their mannerisms but in the choices they make. Rarely do we believe these people were born and raised in the futuristic society depicted in the movie.”The Lobster” is an exception. These people are such children of their times that often we cannot understand their behavior. Thats what made the movie fascinating for me. these weird people of the future who decide on such odd methods of trying to beat the system. We of today would never make the same choices, because we were raised with a completely different world view.

        1. Aspects of it, yes. I was thinking of the awards season hype and it being designated as a best film option of the year. That distinction catapulted the Sci Fi offering and made me group it with his other great distinctions, Alien and Blade Runner.

      3. It took me a while to see Predestination too but I liked it when I finally did. It was Sarah Snook’s breakout role like Michael Fassbender in Hunger. Check it out before the put her on the cover of Vanity Fair. 🙂

  11. It’s Blade Runner for me. It contains a speech every bit as good as the famous one in Hamlet. “I have seen things you….” And thanks to Beetley Pete, by the way!

  12. Bladerunner was brilliant and paved the way for so many awesome SF stories that came after it, like the Fifth Element. I also saw elements of the story and sets in the newer Hunger Games movies. 2001 is a different creature entirely, and it spawned so many movies in its vein, like Gravity. But they are so different, it’s like comparing two rooms, one with a stripped down Scandinavian look to another with a kitchy, heavily ornamented Grandma look. They might both be rooms, but they are completely different philosophies of life.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Brenda. It is a comparison, but more of a ‘Which style do you prefer?’ question. Although they are very different films, and are separated by fourteen years, they do tend to signify landmarks in science fiction cinema, and show how the genre developed into the 1980s and beyond. If you like both, then that’s fine, it isn’t compulsory to choose a side.
      It was very good to see you on this forum, and to read your much-appreciated comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  13. Great analysis of 2 amazing films. Make mine Blade Runner, all the way. Both are stylish, technical achievements, massively influential, and introspective. The internal qualities get these films slapped with the pretentious label, but that’s probably from fans who look at movies as entertainment, rather than an art form. Poetry and painting may be pretentious too. Sorry, pet peeve 😉 I think 2001 still holds up though. Actually, it means something different each viewing. Meanwhile, Blade Runner is perfect blend of noir and scifi, as mentioned. I really dig on those flavors. Loved the article guys. Excellent!

    1. Always glad when you stop round to provide your opinion, Dan. I think 2001 holds up marvelously, too. When I watched Blade Runner the other day, I forgot how scary the leaking warehouse was with the darkness and the dripping and the steam. Add the circus side show deformed dolls and D.Hannah’s bandit spray and her barbie doll body–I had forgotten that when I first saw it when it was released, it triggered nightmares for me for a long time. Roy Batty was beautiful.

      1. I love your analysis in films, so it’s a joy to stop by. You’re so right about the Blade Runner atmosphere. That smoky scene with Pris amongst the “puppets” was edge-of-your-seat intense. The photography of both these films is monumental in its influence and enjoyment.

    2. Thanks, Dan. I am really pleased that you enjoyed it. I don’t know if you are as old as me, and saw 2001 when it came out? (Probably not, but I don’t like to presume) That is maybe why I don’t find it so compelling now, as I have seen it in a different light, with more experience of watching films, over the decades.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      1. I’m in my 30s now, but I didn’t understand 2001 as a younger viewer. With more cinematic experience under the belt I was more open to interpret the themes and visuals. While the spectacle of the FX may fade, the questions still bring the wonder 😉

          1. I really enjoyed the book of The Martian, maybe more than movie, but I thought the adaptation was worth watching. I actually liked the different spin on ALIEN with PROMETHEUS. That said, Ridley Scott’s original ALIEN is light years ahead of both. Let’s just say, neither film is Top 10 worthy 😉

          2. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. What was it that bothered me? Too scientific? The lack of dimension of the character. Whatever disaster came his way, his flippant, oh-well, attitude irked me. Just me, I guess. A little panic or humility or grieving or something other than the smart-ass would have made him more believable.

          3. I haven’t read the book but in the film there’s aspects of him giving into stress and fatigue. Near the end he appears to have gone slightly mad and reckless. Having said that, a lot of positive reviews have been written about how Watney doesn’t mope or navel gaze. You bring up a good point though. Is he as a result not relatable or even a fully believable character? For me with Matt Damon in the role?..Sure.

  14. It’s fun to debate and you’ve got a great discussion going here. To be honest, I don’t think it’s completely fair to pit these two very different films together, BUT if I had to choose, I’d go with 2001: A Space Odyssey for its innovative narrative. Very few films, sci-fi or otherwise, have ever attempted such a grand statement.

    1. Thanks for making that difficult choice, Mark. It may not have been fair to offer these two very different films for discussion, but it has generated a lot of interesting debate and thoughts. With that in mind, I am glad that we did!
      Best wishes, Pete.

    2. I agree it’s probably not fair; all my adult life the two are talked about together. I realize they are apples and oranges. Unless you consider the impact of both to decide if one is more influential–but it really boils down to preference. I think it’s easier to watch Blade Runner over and over. Thanks, Mark for contributing today. 🙂

  15. I found Prometheus unwatchable, and The Martian a solid, old. fashioned, conventional picture, not oscar worthy by any means, but it was such a bad year for nominees. I thought the martian was on a par with the winner, Spotlight. most f this years really exceptional pictures were shunned by the Academy..

    1. I haven’t seen The Martian yet, Bill, and have not read the book either. I don’t think Prometheus is a great film at all, but I did like it. The reason I liked it, is that I was expecting a preposterous ‘prequel’, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a good effort at explaining the events before Alien.
      However, I understand that the film is universally disliked, so I have to be happy to be in a (very small) minority. Regards as always, Pete.

      1. Pete, I didnt realize it was a prequel to Alien. In fact, I couldnt tell what it was supposed to be..and my brain disconnected very early in the story. I’ll have to give it another chance now.Ill try to watch it tonight.

      2. Ridley Scott is working on Alien: Covenant, the second film in the Alien prequel trilogy that began with Prometheus. The first film was a bit confusing and left a lot of questions unanswered. However, Scott will most likely address these issues with Alien: Covenant and the final chapter. Alien: Covenant is scheduled for release on October 2017. I’m looking forward to it.

      3. Hi Bill. It is a fairly convincing prequel to Alien, albeit set a long time before. I really hope that you can see it through new eyes, given that prompt.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        1. Prometheus is good film. Its got fantastic ideas and a spectacular look to it. It also has a scientistmaking cute faces at a space snake. I can’t care about characters if they’re idiots. Having said that, I like the film. As always Fassbender is great.

  16. Sorry I missed this post a couple of days ago! Great discussions here, Pete & Cindy! Since I just saw ‘2001’ not that long ago it’s still a bit fresh in my mind. Out of the two, I like ‘Blade Runner’ more, it’s more emotionally gratifying to me. That ‘tears in the rain’ scene alone is indelible and heart-wrenching. But both are certainly epic and a masterpiece in their own right.

      1. Yes indeed. Hauer’s character is definitely intriguing and even overshadowed Ford’s. There’s something so haunting about that scene that it stayed w/ you for a long time.

    1. Thanks, Ruth. I have a sneakily nice feeling that you are ‘with me’ on Blade Runner. I agree that it is about emotions. As marvellous as 2001 is, it lacks contact and empathy, often feeling cold, and emotionless. Blade Runner supplies all I need to become involved in a film, in every scene. I am very pleased to read your comment, and glad that you participated.
      Best wishes, Pete.

  17. For those of us who grew up watching Disneyland on Sunday-night television in the mid-50s, 2001: A Space Odessy was a better graphic realization of much we had already seen. Shown in big-screen movie theaters it was magnificent. It was slick and the soundtrack was amazing. As kids having watched Disneyland, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjs3nBfyIwM, it was all very believable, but it was horribly sterile.

    Blade Runner with its grittiness was real. It’s people were real. While 2001: A Space Odessy was out there somewhere, Blade Runner was here . . . maybe not today, but we recognized the people. We saw the, everyday on the street.

    So, I cast my vote for Blade Runner. It’s the better movie.

    1. Thanks, Allen. I have to agree that 2001 does feel sterile now, but didn’t seem that way to me on release. I am pleased that you prefer Blade Runner, as I do feel that it is the more realistic, and possibly the most enduring of the two.
      I never watched Disneyland, I doubt it was shown in the UK. So thanks for the link.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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