Thursday, November 26, 2015

Week 11

This week I watched Interstellar,  and I was completely blown away by this amazing movie. Now I don't usually swear in these blog posts but HOLY SHIT THAT WAS FREAKING AMAZING. I actually had to not do anything for a good hour after watching it just to process what happened.

Anyway, Interstellar follows humanity’s last-ditch effort to find a new habitable planet – after Earth is ravaged by environmental catastrophe. Cooper, a pilot turned farmer was asked to go on a mission by NASA to find another habitable planet for humans. A lot of this movie had to do with complex physics, which the director (Christopher Nolan), probably researched extensively. I love things related to time travel, science, space-time, space travel, black holes, and supernatural beings.

The characters in the movie refer to the supernatural/extraterrestrial beings as "THEY". “THEY” are an advanced race who have unlocked the secrets of dimensional travel and, for some reason, decided to help mankind in escaping an almost uninhabitable Earth. The NASA team believes that the beings may be either unable or unwilling to communicate directly with humans (which would make things infinitely easier) because “THEY” are fifth-dimensional, having transcended humans' three-dimensional ways of understanding the universe. Brand thinks “THEY” have laid out a series of primitive (in their opinion) breadcrumbs (binary messages) and advanced technology (the wormhole) for humans to follow – in order to save ourselves from annihilation.

Week 14: Satire and Sci-Fi

This week I read the famous Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.  I did watch the movies before, but I haven't read the books, but I'm really glad I did. The movies don't compare to the books in my opinion, just because I feel like there's something in a book that a movie can't match....yeah images are worth a thousand words but if those words are amazing I think it's worth the time it takes to read it.

I forgot where but I read somewhere that the districts are supposed to be in post apocalyptic America, and they were supposed to be in major cities, the Capital being in Washington D.C. When compared to other post apocalyptic fiction novels, the Hunger Games shows many similarities to different categories within this genre. Since nowhere in the series does it actually say what caused the apocalypse that made America into Panem, the disaster is left up to the us to imagine. But, this society definitely had the ability to create nuclear weapons. One was even used by the Capital to annihilate District 13. Nuclear war could have created mass panic and the fragmentation of the current government leading to chaos. Usually when there mass chaos and the absence of guidance for the people, one individual or group tends to rise above the rest and take control, aka Prez Snow.

One big theme is survival. Survival seems to be the most obvious one as the point of the Hunger Games is to be the last one standing. Throughout the novels, all Katniss thinks about is surviving and helping Peeta survive as well. In fact, one of the only bits of advice that Haymitch, their mentor, offers is to “Stay alive”. This applies not only to the fights in the games, but also (especially in Mockingjay), to the rebellion against The Capital.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 13: Literary Speculation

This week I read A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. A Wrinkle in Time is the story of Meg Murry, a young girl who is transported through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O'Keefe to save her father a scientist, from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet. At the beginning of the book, Meg is a homely, awkward, but loving girl, troubled by anxiety and her concern for her father, who has been missing for over a year. The plot begins with the arrival of Mrs. Whatsit at the Murry house on a dark and stormy evening. Although she looks like a hobo, she is actually a supernatural creature with the ability to read Meg's thoughts. She startles Meg's mother by reassuring her of the existence of a tesseract--a sort of "wrinkle" in space and time. It is through the tesseract that Meg and her companions travel through the fifth dimension in search of Mr. Murry.

The concept statement of this book is basically "Love conquers all." We see this when IT possesses Charles Wallace, but Meg uses love (which she realized could help after being in the arms of Aunt Beast) to drive IT away out of Charles. 

Another theme is that sometimes complete symmetry/rhythm can be extremely creepy. Imagine walking onto a street in which all houses look EXACTLY the same, and all the kids playing on the street are doing the EXACT same thing and the EXACT same time. And if they mess up, it looks like someone just died horribly. Kinda got an image? Now imagine a whole WORLD of that. Its unbelievable and unimaginable. If you want you can also imagine that everyone on this godforsaken planet has a brain controlled by another HUGE disembodied brain which knows nothing of love. Weird.

I also really appreciated the addition of the fourth and fifth dimension in this book. I've always found that type of thing really interesting, and I love reading about theories about it. Its even more fascinating that its pretty much possible if we had the means to do it. I've also always wondered if it could somehow be done and if we could travel really far away.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 12:

Are there any prominent symbols in the story?

One symbol I noticed in Bloodchild was the what the Terrans actually represented. An element of this short story is the way in which humans are deprived of their humanity and reduced to a function.....a mere object. Humans themselves are a symbol of slavery/poverty. In the story Gan says, “She parceled us out... and an independent people”. Here, humans are merely bargaining point. Even more so, humans are just a vessel for  giving birth for the Tlic.  This is conveyed in the figure/symbol of Lomas. Contrasting from the other characters in the story who actually interact with each other, the narrator, T’Gatoi, Lien, and others, Lomas appears for a short amount of time as an unwilling participant in a Tlic birth. He appears as an example of horrible unfair circumstances. Throughout Lomas’ narration he is figuratively and physically dehumanized. Physically, Lomas is mutilated by the parasitic Tlic larva within his body that eat away at his flesh and by T’Gatoi, who cuts open Lomas in an effort to extract the Tlic Larva. Figuratively, Lomas is reduced by the narration that was seen in the story.

What connections did you make with the story?

I didn't relate specifically to any of the situations in the story (I'm not really a host for an alien creature) but I do understand that making hard choices and being placed difficult situations is very tough and nerve-wracking. Especially when you have to shoulder the responsibility after making those choices. When Gan had to choose between being a host and letting that his sister do it, I felt like that was a situation in which a lot of responsibility was in the choice he made. I've had very similar situations.

What changes would you make to adapt this into another medium? What medium would you use?
I would make this into a graphic novel..... I mean it certainly is very graphic. It would be easier to convey emotion through pictures and staging through words, and all the visuals of the grotesque grubs eating away at Lomas' flesh would be laid out for the audience to see. I might end the story more dramatically and grotesquely than how the author ended it tough, because I could use my design and story sense to change how the audience takes the information.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 10: The Fiction of Ideas

This week I read Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. I know it was on the watching list, and not the reading list, but I've heard so many good things about the book, so I decided to read it instead.

I thought the book was absolutely brilliant. I thought a world without books would be absurd, but Bradbury manages to make the world seem like reality with his writing. I found several things in the book interesting.

Two of the most interesting characters in the novel are Captain Beatty and Faber. They seem to be central to the novel, but at the same time play no active role. Beatty provides the history and background to the decline of books in society and role of firemen burning in them. Faber on the other hand guides our main character, Guy Montag through his mundane existence using an ear-piece after witnessing his attempt to tear pages from the Bible. The two characters help the reader understand the theme, the damage some forms of media will have on literature.

Montag meets a girl Clarisse, who basically changes his life forever. I think Bradbury is trying to show that relationships can change a persons outlook on life very drastically. After meeting her, Montag starts noticing aspects of life he never noticed before and begins to do simple but spontaneous actions like tasting the rain and laughing. Bradbury also shows the contrast between two entirely different worlds, Montag's and Clarisse's.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 9: Space Opera

Well, pretty much like everyone else in the western world, when I hear the words 'space opera', I immediately think of Star Wars. And then I think about Star Trek. Mostly because they're the most popular space operas to come out to the public and were of course, widely successful.

As a child (actually even now I would read it) I read a bunch of Star Wars novels involving Anakin Skywalker's life from when he was picked up by Qui-Gonn, to when he became a Jedi Knight (Revenge of the Sith). I thought these were super interesting to read actually, especially knowing that the main character would eventually become one of the most feared villains of all time.

In addition to these, I also really loved the books that illustrated long after the Empire fell; when Han and Leia's kids had grandkids! It was very enjoyable to read and very refreshing.

I even went so far as to write my own sequel to the sixth book, involving Luke Skywalker and a lost spirit recalling technology that was found to bring back Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader as two separate beings. It also (somehow) brings back Yoda and Anakin's rival from his Padawan days (Ferus Olin), who Darth Vader killed between the fifth and sixth movie. It was a fairly complicated plot, there were a bunch of scraggly drawings at the bottom of each page(the drawings were probably worse than I remember) and I don't think it made a WHOLE lot of sense, but I thought it wasn't bad for a ten year old!

But yeah, Star Wars is my space jam. Haha get it. Space Jam. Okay I'll stop.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 8: Mythic Fiction and Contemporary Urban Fantasy

Today in class we watched Coraline and seeing how they translated the novel to the movie was very interesting and fun to watch. I actually didn't see the movie; this was the first time I was seeing the movie. Given that I already knew the plot, I was focusing on the cinematography and animation (mostly cause we're learning both in classes: I'm a Computer Animation major).

I think that the fact that LAIKA endeavored on this film was very surprising, but also very unsurprising. The plot is pretty perfect for an animated film: interesting, exaggerated, and suspenseful. Although some of the themes are cliche (curiosity kills the cat, be careful what you sit for), the visuals made up for whatever doubts I had about the movie. The mere fact that this movie was made with stop-motion makes it all the more creepy and hooking. The slight stiffness and surrealism of the animation totally fits the tone of the movie. I thought it was a very good balance, fluid when it had to be, yet "jagged" in some instances. The interesting thing was that I thought that the Other Mother and her world's animation was more fluid and interesting than the real world's animation.

The movie also had another key character that wasn't present in the book: Wyborn "Wybie" Lovat wasn't mentioned at all in the book, but in the movie he was seen as annoying and quirky. His other, mute self is a strong ally in the Other World, essentially sacrificing himself for her. In the end he saves her life again by crushing the Other Mother's hand.

The movie definitely succeeded in thoroughly creeping me out, and I didn't even get to the scary part yet! Definitely would watch, and I'm going to finish it soon.