Top 10 Smart Science Fiction Films

You know what I miss – smart science fiction.  It’s so rare, these days.  With all the movies that treat science like a bitch that you can bend over a table and (insert horrifically dirty idea that your perverse mind can come up with), it’s genuinely comforting when I find films that actually get the concept right.  Or at the very least you can see there was some attempt to have science get a day in the sun instead of being treated like a beat dog.  So I decided to make a list of the films that were not only good films, but also did science right.  Maybe they didn’t get everything right, but they at least did their best to let science be a part that makes sense.

10. Ex Machina
The concept of a true artificial intelligence and people having to deal with it is older than me.  By far, actually.  But all of those films have a flaw that I just can’t look past – they don’t feel grounded in reality.  Films like AI have it where it’s a story about humanity’s prejudice against those who are different, so machines that think and feel are hated by people.  There was a game that came out last year with a similar tone that I liked.  But this film has it where they are at the very beginning.  We have a character who is brought in to be used as a kind of Turing Test for this new AI that a man has created.  It’s a very twisted thriller where we see this machine manipulating him, along with a human element manipulating things.  It’s very dark, and that’s part of why I like it.

9. 2001: A Space Odyssey
You might be wondering – what’s a film that is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made doing so low on this list?  Well, since this is all personal preference, while I do think this is a masterful movie, I don’t like it as smart science fiction as much as the others.  For starters, anyone who watches and enjoys Stanley Kubrick films knows that you have to be prepared for LONG bits of slow pacing.  It’s a meme, at this point.  This film is no exception.  HAL as the villain is pretty great, but there were times when I just couldn’t get past the slow burn pacing of this movie.  And the ending went into the realms of pretentious.  It is a great movie, from a film-making standpoint, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as other people.

8. Jurassic Park
This pick my have some of you scratching your head.  Wasn’t this some big blockbuster?  Well, yeah, but it is still grounded in the fact that it is a science fiction monster movie.  I might be biased towards it because it is based on a book by my favorite author – Michael Crichton.  While not close to the best adaptation of his work, it’s still got some of the science that the book was centered on in there.  The smart angle comes from the fact that it’s grounded in what they did to bring the dinosaurs back to life.  The film goes out of its way to tell us all about that.  What’s more, they have it come back to that with how the dinosaurs end up reproducing.  That’s pretty smart.  While it may have ended up being a monster movie, the monsters were cool, and there was grounding to the science that made it work.  I take that for what I will.

7. Apollo 13
More of you are probably wondering about this.  I mean, isn’t this based on a real event?  Yeah, it is.  But I see this film more as a dramatized piece of historical fiction rather than a straight-up piece.  After all, this was based on a book by Jim Lovell, who was one of the astronauts associated with this movie.  Telling the story of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, what really sets this film apart is that the scenes in the film where they are in zero-g are actually done in zero gravity.  Part of why this film cost so much to make was due to how insane the effects were and what it took to create them.  It’s a great film where you can actually see what being in space would be like, and fear for astronauts.  Not to mention Tom Hanks is the lead.  Can’t go wrong.

6. Annihilation
Made by the same guy who made Ex Machina, this movie is one of my favorite films about aliens coming to Earth ever.  It also gets to add itself to the list of great movies that no one saw.  Telling the story of a woman trying to find out what happened to her husband, getting involved in a plot about this strange area that develops after a meteor hits earth – the Shimmer.  Inside, the laws of nature twist and turn.  Reality warps in there, and the deeper her and her compatriots go, the scarier it gets.  What I love most about this film is that even in the end, there is no explanation.  Dude asks her what the aliens wanted.  She doesn’t know.  They ask her if she knows what they are.  She doesn’t know.  They constantly try and figure a rational reason behind what the Shimmer was or anything inside, but there are none to be found.  It just was.  That’s smart science fiction, to me.  Because why would alien motives make sense to us?  They are, quite literally, alien.  The rhyme and reason we take for granted would be just as foreign to them as theirs is to us.  Not to mention the body horror in that.  This movie had one of the scariest scenes in years.

5. The Andromeda Strain
Another adaptation of my favorite author.  Far and away the best of them.  Telling the story of a satellite that lands back on Earth and is recovered by a small town, only for all of them to be dead.  What follows is an investigation by some of the best scientists in the world to see if they can isolate and then cure the infection.  This is a slow-burn film, but that works in this one’s favor, as you can fee the tension as they are getting closer and closer to understanding, and realizing that they are dealing with something that is unlike anything else they have ever seen.  The scene where they finally get an eye-view of the microscopic alien life is still scary to this day.  The effects have really held up over time.  Old movie, based on a VERY old book.

4. Arrival
I’m starting to think that there is nothing that Denis Villeneuve cannot do in terms of film-making.  His movies have run the gamut in terms content.  Suspense thrillers, crime thrillers, and then we see him do a foray into smart science fiction.  What’s more, it’s fantastic.  Telling the story of a series of alien ships that come to Earth.  The military gets the help of a woman who is a linguistics expert to try and speak to the aliens.  What follows is a fantastic movie and some great smart science fiction where they understand the language of the aliens, and see that it goes beyond just spoken words.  This film was the one that convinced me that science fiction that was intelligent could still be made in the modern age.  Also it was my favorite movie of 2016.  So there’s that.

3. Contact
This is a movie that I grew up with.  It grew on me from when I first saw it, and re-watching it a while back, it still sticks.  Another film about first contact with aliens, this one takes a decidedly different angle.  Ostensibly this film is about the battle between the need for scientific discovery, and humanity’s paranoia.  We have Jodie Foster as an astronomer who is trying to find alien life.  When she finally does, the young woman becomes embroiled in a struggle to get past the worst of our species, to be able to answer questions she has always had.  This film got some flak for the Matthew McConaughey character and how that romance wasn’t necessary.  But I think it was.  Foster believed, genuinely, that spirituality and faith were bad.  She’d seen nothing but the worst of it, growing up.  But he was like the realization that maybe there could be a meeting in the middle of the ideas. Faith was a very big theme.  Not a perfect movie.  It has its flaws.  But as smart science fiction goes, this is pretty fantastic.

2. The Martian
I recently have just fallen head over heels in love with this movie.  Ridley Scott is a great filmmaker.  He really is.  This film is so utterly amazing.  Telling the story of an astronaut who ends up stranded on Mars after his team believes he is dead and has to evacuate.  From there is a great look at all the science involved in not only his survival, but also getting him home.  This film has some fantastic performances by the entire cast.  Matt Damon is at his best in the role as Mark Watney.  Another film where he has to be rescued.  Someone should put a bell around his neck.  The effects in this movie are amazing.  The CG is really good.  There is a nice integration of practical effects.  The sets are cool.  All of the science is on point.  I love this movie.  It does the source material proud as well.  Another film based off a book.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you’re doing a disservice to yourself by not doing so right now.

And my favorite smart science fiction film is…

1. Blade Runner
The film that created the term cyberpunk in the popular lexicon.  A movie with a cyberpunk edge might not seem to be in the realm of smart science fiction, but I do believe this movie is.  Sure, we have flying cars, and that is silly.  But what makes this smart is the themes of the film.  It’s a movie about power relationships.  The replicants are beneath humans.  Society seems them that way.  They are forced to be in ugly places far from Earth.  Coming to Earth is on pain of death.  The test to find out if a person is a replicant or not is invasive and cold.  Deckard is a man who goes between the lower and upper world, belong in neither.  When he realizes that Rachel is a replicant, he treats her as poorly as the rest of people would.  This film is all about subtle themes that play out in a culmination of the final moments before Roy Batty’s death, are are among the most talked about in all of cinema.  The sequel was alright, but nothing can beat the original, in my eyes.  If you haven’t seen this film too, you’re also missing out.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite smart science fiction films?  Please don’t comment stupid shit like Gravity.  That film is visually amazing, but the science fiction in it is dumb as dirt.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” – Roy Batty, Blade Runner

Peace out,


Top 10 Michael Crichton Books

I don’t know how many of you reading this know, but my favorite author is Michael Crichton.  This man had a gift at taking real world concepts and taking them to the next level.  Or finding things that were in the zeitgeist and looking at them from another way.  Then there were his books about medicine, for which he graduated from Harvard.  As well as his books about crime and corporate espionage.  The man even took a stab at historical fiction, and with the exception of the lost manuscript that just got released (I genuinely didn’t like Dragon’s Teeth.  At all.  I thought it was boring as fuck.  Perhaps there’s a reason it was a lost manuscript), he nailed it!  Crichton was a master of the craft, and while I didn’t always agree with everything in his novels (such as in State of Fear, where he makes clear his belief about climate change and what he believes in mankind not being involved in it), I could always read them and be engaged, left with things to ponder.  Here is my list of my 10 favorite.

10. The Terminal Man
It’s so interesting to read this book.  It was written in 1972, and the concepts within it are more terrifying now than they were then.  But Crichton says outright in the beginning that while these concepts are scary, they’re real.  A story about a man who has seizures that cause him to be both violent and stronger, he is brought into a hospital for a new kind of treatment.  It will put wires into his brain to stimulate the parts of his mind during a seizure to stave it off.  However, this man has a twisted psychosis that leads him to escape after the procedure, with a dark plan.  This book is violent, tense, and the concepts within it terrifying.  Mind control is a concept that people talk about today, and mechanisms that could cause it existed then.  Think about that.

9. Rising Sun
A combination book of two things that Crichton does very well – crime novels and corporate espionage.  A story about two detectives who are investigating a murder at a Japanese corporate party.  This book looks at Japanese business, in a way that is not always flattering.  You have two different perspectives on it, so you can see the juxtaposition in approaches to how people treat the Japanese.  It’s also interesting with this stuff and the time period that it was written in, vs how things are now.  The west likes to believe that we get things, but in reality, the countries that aren’t our own are often as alien to us as life on another planet would be.  This is a book of intrigue and culture, and only Crichton could get skate on ice this thin without falling through.

8. A Case of Need
It’s ironic the timing of this.  During a new Supreme Court nomination, where countless people are wondering if Roe v Wade is going to be overturned.  This book also looked at abortion, but during a very different time.  Published in 1968, this book tells the story of a man who is framed for a botched abortion which results in the death of a young woman.  He gets a dear friend to investigate and find out the truth, saving both him and his reputation.  Before abortion was legal, where unsafe abortions killed countless women, this book took a look at the concept with an eye of critical skepticism.  It’s clear that Crichton was on the side of those who wanted legal abortion for women, but he decided to give this book a hard medical approach, along with a decent mystery.  In today’s climate, this book is definitely worth checking out.

7. Airframe
A corporate espionage story through-and-through, this book holds a special place for me because of the subject matter.  Neat fact – I’m afraid of flying.  I hate it.  It ties nicely into my fear of heights.  A fact that many have sniggered at due to how unfathomably tall I am.  Yes, this fact does amuse me to some degree.  Telling the story of an airplane manufacturing company (do they even have these in this country anymore?  I figure all that shit was outsourced years ago) who is tasked with investigating the cause of a horrifying accident, it is a story of corporate greed, corruption, and why people REALLY should be more afraid of being in airplanes.  It’s mired in corporate speak, but Crichton takes you through it.  He loves to have little digressions to talk about whatever subject matter is in his books.  Partly to help you understand, and partly because he clearly wants to show off how much research he did to write them.  This book is among the best in this genre, and if you aren’t afraid of flying, it will help with that.

6. Pirate Latitudes
When I was given this book, 1st Edition, for Christmas one year, I was unsure what to think.  A historical fiction book by Michael Crichton?  I mean, Timeline was great and all, but this just seems a little outlandish.  Then I started to read, and all my doubts evaporated.  Telling the story of a privateer who is given a task to raid an island that has equal parts danger and opportunity, this story is mired in Crichton’s ability to show off his research, and the adventure factor of a great pirate story.  It genuinely shocked me how good this book is.  These characters and their adventure feels so grounded in what could actually happen.  It doesn’t have the rosy view of pirates.  No, these people are gross, immoral people.  But Crichton has a gift at making those you shouldn’t like feel so fun to get to know.  A trip to the high seas you won’t forget.

5. Sphere
This novel is a little bit different.  Instead of Crichton showcasing his research, he wanted to show off his ability to use mood and setting to his advantage.  Telling the story of a man who once made a plan on how to deal with first contact with aliens, he gets a chance to do just that as a craft has been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.  What follows is a supremely suspenseful novel about terror at the bottom of the sea, and a device that has powers that defy all comprehension.  Crichton is able to make the deep ocean seem more threatening than anyone though possible.  Telling a story with tons of The Abyss before that film was a thing, it’s a novel to make your skin crawl.

4. Disclosure
This novel really seemed ahead of its time, looking at where we are now in terms of gender politics.  Combining a VERY touchy subject with his corporate espionage style, this novel tells the story of a man who works for a computer company.  A woman is hired that he used to be involved with.  After she tries to make a move on him and he rejects her, she comes after him with a sexual harassment suit.  From there, he does something that would be ballsy even to this day – files a sexual harassment suit right back, getting a lawyer who is a big-time feminist.  Taking on the concept of gender politics in the time when this was written could EASILY have blown up in his face, but Crichton doesn’t back down from his perspective.  He shows that it is possible for women to abuse their power and sexuality as a man, along with be corrupt and vile.  He doesn’t shy away from the implications.  It’s a daring novel, and I think that it has more relevance now than it did when it came out.

3. The Andromeda Strain
The novel that helped put Crichton on the map.  The first work of his to be adapted to film, and probably the only one done right.  This story was revolutionary for its time, and it has aged exceptionally well.  It takes the perspective that what if alien life that comes to our world isn’t some big monster, but rather something so small that you can’t see it with the naked eye?  A probe crashed back to Earth after having gone to find alien life, and it came back with something in tow.  An alien pathogen that kills the entirety of a small town.  Now, a group of some of the best scientists in the world comes together to try and figure out how to stop it.  This novel is tense.  The process of learning about this infection and what it is will leave you on the edge of your seat.  It’s a mind-bender, to say the least, and I am still shocked by it even to this day, because of how it takes concepts from time gone by and takes the next step in terms of technology.  A first contact story unlike any other.

2. Jurassic Park
Definitely the most famous of Crichton’s books.  A novel that tells the story of an eccentric billionaire who used cloning to create an island full of dinosaurs.  However, there are several things about the novel that separate it from the movie and make it far better.  For starters, this novel builds up the reality of dinosaurs existing in a way that the film doesn’t.  It’s a process of the world getting hints about them, only for a small team of people to be given the full reveal.  Not only that, but it looks at the creatures themselves, and what they would be like.  This isn’t just some monster movie.  It’s a tale about animals from 65 million years ago being brought back to life, thrown in the mix with mankind.  It’s a story where survivors are trying to get everything sorted out, and learn what they are up against.  The parts of the story examining what these animals are are fascinating.  It’s a shame the film didn’t take the time to really dive into that.  But you gotta entertain the dim-witted American audience (I do like the movie, by the way.  However, my point stands).  Not nearly as violent and creature-feature as the film, with some amazing science every step of the way.

And my favorite of Crichton’s books is…

1. Prey
Some of you saw this coming if I have any readers who read my post about my top 10 favorite books.  Not only is this my favorite book by Crichton, it’s my favorite book of all time.  This is him at his best.  Him taking real science and going the next step the way that only Crichton could.  It’s a nightmarish, fascinating, tense story about a corporate that creates nanomachines and how swarms of them get out into the wild.  Now, an out of work father who wrote the code that these machines are governed by has to get back into it, to solve the mystery of what his wife was doing away from home, and to save the family he has worked so hard to cultivate.  This book is a masterpiece, plain and simple.  It has Crichton showing his research like never before.  Though, if you find that stuff self-indulgent, you will hate this book.  There are long sections where he gets into some scientific or philosophical concepts and will carry that on for some time.  It’s pretty great stuff.  These machines, how they are created, and what they become, is a story that will have you spellbound, turning pages like it’s nobody’s business to get to the end.

What are some of your favorites?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“They didn’t know what they were doing.  Sometimes I wonder if that will be humanity’s epitaph.” – Jack Forman, Prey

Peace out,


Lucien’s Review: Jurassic World

Jurassic WorldGoing into this movie, I knew that I wasn’t going to like it.  I was bored and in a bad mood and lonely the other night, so I finally decided to see if this film really was as bad as I was expecting.  This film, in many ways, lived down to my expectations.  This was the most boring, by-the-numbers, cliche and uninteresting summer blockbusters I’ve ever seen.  Wasting all the good source material the book gave it.  Let’s talk about this film.  God I am going to regret this.

The plot goes that InGen has finally got all the bugs worked out, and the Park is open for business!  You have Chris Pratt’s character, who I like to think is that kid from the first movie, that Grant scared the shit out of, cleaning up his life and then becoming this guy.  That makes Pratt’s role in this movie a lot more interesting.  I’ll get to the performances soon enough.  He once worked for InGen, training their dinosaurs.  They want him back, to train a new one.  And the plot is the most cookie-cutter monster movie you’ve ever seen.  For real, this movie takes ZERO chances with the plot.  It’s that predictable.  Even the closing is the most predictable fucking thing ever.  I don’t like this movie.

So, what to talk about?  The effects, perhaps?  You know, every movie producer and their friend has railed about how the original film had authenticity by mixing practical and digital effects, so I won’t go into that.  Instead, I am going to just go after these effects by themselves.  Even by modern standards, these things looked bad.  It was all so fake!  There is that great parodied scene with Pratt and the raptors, but I couldn’t help but just be so awfully aware of how he wasn’t reacting to something that was in the room.  That was my feeling the entire time throughout this movie.  It was like nothing was there.  Ever.  I never thought I would respect the original film the way that I do right now.  The CG is dated, but it still holds up because it is used so sparingly.  Is no film company willing to at least give practical effects some kind of chance?

And while we’re talking about effects, let’s talk about the monster of the movie.  Since this film lacked the ability to be original, it had to have a super-dinosaur, and it was a monster movie.  That’s all this movie was.  And you know the biggest disappointment in this film – the super-dinosaur.  It was so cliche!  Like a T-Rex, only smarter and crap.  When I heard that they were engineering a super-dinosaur, I had all kinds of messed-up images of potential monsters in my head.  The sky’s the limit, when you can mess with genetics.  But the reveal was so bad, and I was so bored.  Part of me wanted to walk out when I saw the big reveal. 1998’s Godzilla had a better reveal!  Oh yeah, I went there.

Next up, let’s talk about the acting.  I am so sorry for Chris Pratt in this movie.  He is working so hard.  For real, he’s a good actor, and he tried his damndest to make this movie work.  But he was given absolutely nothing to work with!  The stuff with the raptors was the only time that this character got a chance to shine.  If it all wasn’t so fake, that could have been some almost emotional stuff.  Like they could be a part of his life and he could bond with them in a way that could be touching.  It would make the best part of the film – when him and the raptors are on the hunt for the super-dinosaur – so much better.  But the rest of the film’s performances were so either boring or just bad.  Like Ron Howard’s daughter (or is it niece?).  That performance wasn’t Sofia Coppola bad, but it was up there.  For one – she is wearing high-heels during the entire film!  It’s a disaster with dinosaurs, lady!  Get some shoes that are made for a disaster situation!  And don’t even get me started on the kid characters.  I remember Siskel and his problem with Aliens and having a kid in that.  I kind of feel the same way here.  Those kids served no purpose, other than to just be afraid and get the audience to feel for them.  So dumb.

This film could have been so much better.  It really could have.  Like, you know something that I think would have been cool – some moments where we see the old island.  Tour some ruins of John Hammond’s original vision.  Maybe have the original raptors fighting the new ones.  That would have been cool.  Or making the super-dinosaur at least a little impressive or frightening.  This film had so many chances to make something great, and it wasted all of them.

Much like a game I just reviewed not long ago, this film was wasted potential.  It had all the ingredients for a good movie, but it just squandered each and every one of them.  I knew that I wasn’t going to like this movie, but now I feel like my time was utterly wasted.  Thankfully, this film is so utterly forgettable that I am going to not remember it this time next year.  Thank god.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,


Lucien’s First Take: Jurassic World

I’m gonna level with you about something – Jurassic Park was the first movie I saw in theaters.  I fucking love dinosaurs.  I loved that movie.  The first sequel was…bad.  It was a bad movie.  It wasn’t totally actively terrible.  Julianne Moore was trying to do a good performance.  But she had nothing good to work with.  And Ian Malcolm being in the film bugged the shit out of me or a number of reasons.  I’m about to go all book worm on you.  In the first book, Malcolm died.  When asked where Malcolm was, Muldoon just shook his head.  He was clearly dead.  In the second book (which also existed for no reason), he is suddenly alive again!  How the fuck does that work?!  They don’t even address it!  It annoyed me then and it annoys me now.  That was part of the reason that I didn’t like the second film.  The third film comes out, and I felt so sorry for everyone involved.  Sam Neil especially.  He’s a talented actor who has gotten a lot of shit roles.  Not to mention – they took away the awesome factor of the T-Rex!  It’s now a little bitch in this movie.  What the hell?!

Yeah, this franchise has had its fair share of issues.  When I heard about another sequel in the works, I was done.  Especially since the author of the series has sadly passed away a few years back.  To me, this felt like it was dishonoring his creation.  I heard the title, Jurassic World, and that didn’t help.  But my friends kept telling me how cool it was going to be, so I said, “alright, I’ll give it a chance.  If the trailer for the film wows me, I’ll go see it with you.”  It all comes down to the first trailer.  It debuts, and here it is –

Ugh.  Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t like what I see in this movie.  For one – why do they have these brother characters?  They have no point, and clearly are in this just for the fear factor with the kids in danger.  That’s…bullshit.  Weapons-grade bullshit.  Next – this movie looks beyond cliche.  You have some company (they never have an Ingen logo on anything, so you don’t know if this is them or not.  It might be that company who was trying to steal the DNA they had) trying to make super-hybrid dinosaurs, and one of them gets out.  Now, you have some hunter guy, played by the dude who was Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy trying to kill the creature.  In other words, it’s a monster movie.

Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t things about the trailer that looked good.  A lot like Tron: Legacy, this movie looks to have elements that could be cool, that never really go anywhere.  For example, there is a scene where the hunter is on a bike.  You see raptors being released from a facility, and they don’t appear to be hunting him.  They actually are keeping pace.  That’s cool!  Like they have found a way to control the minds of raptors.  That is a neat thing!  Dinosaur mind control could open up so many interesting ideas about the idea of enslaving these creatures and what is right and wrong.  Even the idea of a hybrid dinosaur isn’t THAT terrible.  But it’s actively clear that this film is going to just devolve into a monster movie.  And that is such wasted potential!  This movie could be awesome!  Why does it have to go all cliche?!

Do I think it will be a terrible movie?  No.  I just don’t see anything here that is going to interest me enough to see it in theaters.  I have Netflix for it, once it comes out on video.  Take that for what you will.

Initial Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,


Top 10 Best Book-to-Film Adaptations

Most of the books that are made into movies suck.  Horribly.  Hollywood has decided to spit in my face by not only sodomizing one of my favorite books, World War Z, but by deciding to turn it into a film franchise.  Fuck you, Hollywood.  But occasionally, there are some adaptations that do the source material justice.  Now, I’m not going to judge this by how much I liked these adaptations.  I am going to judge this by how true they stayed to the source material, while still making a good product.  That’s not to say that they couldn’t take liberties.  I just mean staying true to the essence of what their material is about.  If you don’t agree with my list, or have books of your own that you want to put on, hit me back in the comments section.  Alright, here we go…

Jaws10. Jaws
Novel by Peter Benchley, film directed by Steven Spielberg
This is a film that strayed a LONG way away from the source material, content-wise, but it still stayed very true to what this was about.  The original novel had a larger focus than the film.  In addition to trying to deal with the shark, Chief Brody was also investigating the corruption that was leading to those in charge of the town putting the people of that town in danger.  There was also a sub-plot of Brody’s wife, who had come from wealth, but now we living a very plain life with her husband.  She had regrets about leaving and wants back.  The film kept the story smaller, focusing on Brody and his battle against the shark, along with trying to keep the town safe.  The effects are dated, and they REALLY took liberties with the ending, but it is still a solid film that gives the source material its due.

Jurassic Park9. Jurassic Park
Novel by Michael Crichton, film directed by Steven Spielberg
Another Spielberg film, this one strayed VERY far from the source material.  The book was hardly a monster story, even though it did have its share of gruesome deaths.  It was more about the science (as most Crichton books are), a serious examination of what happens when man takes technology too far, without understanding what it is capable of.  The film had some issues, but overall, it is a great monster flick that brought CG technology to the big screen in a great way, while also using animatronics in other places to give it realism.  It let us all see the most terrifying creatures ever to walk this planet up close and personal.  An awesome movie, to be sure.

The Shining8. The Shining
Novel by Steven King, film directed by Stanley Kubrick
Given how many horrible adaptations of King’s novels there are, this film is a masterpiece.  It takes HUGE liberties with the source material, but it all works.  Kubrick created one of the greatest horror films of all time.  The dark atmosphere and claustrophobic setting work perfectly with the grim tone that the film is trying to portray.  And Jack Nicholson’s performance as he goes insane is just terrifying.  To this day, it gives one chills.  A great film, which did a lot of credit to the author who wrote the book.

The Green Mile7. The Green Mile
Novel by Steven King, Film directed by Frank Darabont
Now, maybe I am going to be alone on this, but I think that this was a REALLY good adaptation of the book.  Of course, the book is hella-long, so a ton of stuff had to be left out, and some of the characters were a little different, but I think that this adaptation was good.  The film stars the late Michael Clark Duncan doing what I think was his best role.  The good-natured by cursed with being able to read people by touch man is sent to death row to be executed for the murder of two young women.  It briefly touched on the racism of the time, had awesome performances by Duncan and Tom Hanks and was pretty intense without having to be bombastic.  Its intensity came from the personal side.  When you hear some of the darker stories that Duncan’s character, John Coffey, tells about his life and how his abilities are a curse.  I thought that this was a really good adaptation, along with being one of my favorite films.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea6. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
Novel by Jules Verne, film directed by Richard Fleisher
This is a film that has withstood the test of time better than almost all others.  It kills me that this film isn’t getting the respect it deserves today.  I think that the reason that younger audiences don’t know if this film now is that it has the name of Disney attached to it.  With that name, people expect really kid-friendly material.  This film, however, is a a VERY grown-up piece of film-making, with some amazing roles from James Mason, Paul Lukas and Kirk Douglas.  While it deviates a lot from the book, it is still an amazing film to watch, giving this a very respectable take.  As a kid, I thought that this was an awesome movie.  As a grown-up, I like it even more.

To Kill a Mockingbird5. To Kill a Mockingbird
Novel by Harper Lee, film directed by Robert Mulligan
This is probably one of the greatest films ever made.  Period.  The only reason that it isn’t higher on this list is because I think that other films got the feel of stuff down better.  But don’t think that this film’s designation on my list is reflective of its quality.  This was a daring film to make.  Being released two years before MLK was shot, it was a film that cast a rather ugly look at racism on society and a man’s struggle to be fair amounts to in a society who hates a man just because of his skin color.  John Grisham would do an awesome modern interpretation in his novel “A Time to Kill” (which also had a pretty good movie adaptation of it, if you’re interested), but this novel and this film set a standard for others to follow.  Every role in this movie was flawless.  Every line of dialogue was perfect.  It is one of the few films that comes as close to perfect as is possible in a movie.  It did the source material proud and it is a great film to watch.  Like I said, it isn’t at this spot because of it’s quality.  I just think that other films did the adaptation better.  But for real, if you haven’t seen this movie, please do.  You won’t regret it.

The Andromeda Strain4. The Andromeda Strain
Novel by Michael Crichton, film directed by Robert Wise
When it comes to staying true to the source material, this film arguably did it best.  While it did change a couple of things, like having one of the scientists be a woman instead of a man, it worked very diligently to hold true to the kind of writing that Crichton does – focusing on the science.  Telling the story of a space-born pathogen that gets brought to earth inside of a satellite, this film is cool because it is all from the perspective of a group of scientists inside of a top-secret research facility.  It is all about the human element trying to quickly solve a mystery that could potentially doom the entire human race, all without having contact with the rest of the human race.  While a lot of the effects in this movie are dated, it still holds up due to some awesome acting and the scientific knowledge that gave Crichton his edge when writing this story.  Kudos to Wise for working so hard to stay true to the source material.  If only some other adaptations of his works did so well at that *cough*Congo and Disclosure*cough*.

Lord of the Rings3. Lord of the Rings
Novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, films directed by Peter Jackson
Just a few years before the first of these movies debuted, this was a series of books that people said that nobody could make into a movie.  People said that it couldn’t be done.  But Peter Jackson rose to the challenge.  While he did take a LOT of liberties with the source material, he made some of the most epic fantasy films of all time.  These films are all amazing, and the fact that the sequels got better and better is a tribute to it.  Normally these movies get worse and worse as time goes on.  This franchise will probably go down in history as one of the greatest adaptations that has ever been done.  So, why isn’t this at the top of my list?  Well, let’s see two reasons why…

Fight Club2. Fight Club
Novel by Chuck Palahniuk, film directed by David Fincher
This is probably one of the best and worst adaptations of a film that has ever been done.  It’s the best in that it captured the book’s message about how lost, lonely and obsessed western society has become.  But it is the worst in that it takes liberties at the worst time.  The absolute pinnacle of bad liberties is the ending.  In the book, the main character realizes that his alter-ego will never be able to be stopped.  The only way that the madness can be stopped is by killing himself.  Which he does.  In the film, it sets it up like he was supposed to have killed himself, but then, magically, he doesn’t.  How does that work?  You put the gun in your mouth.  You pulled the trigger.  How did this work to have you not die?  I genuinely don’t get it.  But at the same time, this is an awesome movie.  The critical look at how enslaved western society is by the things we own and the world we live in is not only thought-provoking, but it is ugly.  We are a generation who is bred to believe we are destined for greatness, only for most of us to end up being middle-management and a fast food joint of an office.  I genuinely love this film, specifically for how far it goes in looking at the dark side of our existence.  But I do have to credit that there are some pretty major plotholes in the film, done so that the main character can get some kind of redemption.  Yeah…

And the best (in my opinion) adaptation of a book is –

Cloud Atlas1. Cloud Atlas
Novel by David Mitchell, Film Directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski
When I heard that they were making a film adaptation of this book, my first thought was – how on EARTH can they possibly do this without making it a total fuck-up?  The book this film was based on is one of the most complicated books that I have ever read.  The idea that a film could be made out of this and not be a complete disaster was inconceivable to me.  Yet against all odds, they made a film that was a damn-good adaptation.  The best that has ever been done!  This film is not only the best book-to-film adaptation of all time, but one of my favorite films of all time.  The beautiful cinematography, the interconnected nature of the stories and the beautiful thoughts about character were just wonderful.  A lot of people got on this film for this and that, but in my eyes, given what they had to work with, the Wachowski’s did an amazing job and should be proud of doing right by a book that I thought would have been impossible to adapt.

So, what are your favorite adaptations?  Hit me back in the comments sections.  Oh, and if you say The Hunger Games, I will mock you without mercy.  That movie is terrible.  Really terrible.

Until next time, a quote,

“You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me”  -Don Corleone, The Godfather

Peace out,


Top 10 Favorite Books

Now, for a long time, after I made a Top 20 Favorite Films list, and a Top 15 Favorite Video Games list, people have been coming after me saying –

You say that you love all great stories, well then, where is the list of your favorite books, huh?!

And you know what, that’s a good point.  Since I do have a love of literature, I thought to myself – what are my favorite books?  This has been the hardest list that I have ever had to make.  I was determined to narrow the list down to my top 10.  I wasn’t going to let myself have to expand on it.  There are so many books that I could read, over and over and over again.  But I sat down, and forced myself to pick the top 10 books that just make me happy.  This is that list.  I should say, up-front, that this isn’t a list of the books that I thought were the best written.  Like my list of favorite movies, the are just the books that I could read, over and over and over again, and never lose enjoyment.  I hope you enjoy.

Watership Down10. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
When you hear that a book is about some cute little bunny rabbits, I bet that most of you don’t think that they could be in a very dark, very gritty and often-times very harsh story, do you?  I didn’t, when I first heard about it, and I was very happily surprised.  This book tells the story of a group of rabbits who are off to find a new home.  Their journey along the way leads them to some of the most disturbing places you can possibly imagine.  But even when it gets dark, you can still feel the hope behind these characters.  I think my favorite character was Fiver.  The little mystic of the group, the way he talked and the way he acted was always interesting.  And his visions were very cool as well.  This book tones up the dark in a huge way, and I loved every disturbing minute of it.

Jurassic Park9. Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
Just to give you a heads-up, you are going to see several of his books on here.  Michael Crichton is, by far, my favorite author.  And this was the first book of his that I ever read.  It’s ironic that the film made from this book was the first film I ever saw in theaters.  When I was a little kid, I was a dinosaur nut.  And since I taught myself how to read, I couldn’t wait to read a book about dinosaurs that was set in modern days.  I just loved it.  This book was loads of fun.  I like that it wasn’t so much about the danger and action, as the movie was, but instead was about the discovery and the mixing of an old world with the new.  They really look at the world of the dinosaurs, and try to put you into the shoes of understanding what it would be like.  Also, as with all Crichton books, they REALLY get into the science of how they were brought back, and everything else.  Crichton loved his science, and to show off what a good researcher he was to write his books.  And I have yet to have a problem with that.  It made for a great book.

Ender's Game8. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
So, Ender Wiggin is one of my favorite characters of all time.  A very intellectual hero who is able to rise above prejudice, conflict and his own limitations with only the power of his mind.  The story of a war with an alien race known as “buggers,” this tale chronicles the genius children who are turned into officers in humanity’s space fleet.  Ender is the smartest of them, using his mind like a well-oiled machine as he becomes one of the shining examples of humanity’s strength in our darkest hour, against an enemy that could very well destroy us.  This is in no way a happy book, but it overcomes that with a great conflict, great characters and a lot of really heavy emotional moments that stay with you until the end.  If you haven’t read this book, I can’t recommend it enough.  This is science fiction among its best.  It was one of my favorite books growing up, and it still is to this day.

White Shark7. White Shark, by Peter Benchley
After having a book that is so emotionally and thematically powerful, you might be wondering what a not-too-complicated horror book is doing on my list.  Well, it is here for a reason.  For one, I like Peter Benchley’s writing style.  He is a lot of fun to read.  I have always liked it.  But this book is on here because I like how a lot of the perspective is from the creature.  It isn’t a man or beast.  It’s something else.  It has a mind, and this mind works.  It thinks, and can formulate plans.  This monster is a mix of everything there is to fear.  Plus, the characters in the island where it is taking place are a lot of fun too.  I especially like the neat little romance between the main character’s son and a deaf girl.  It is made to be a lot like how a young boy, almost a teenager, falls in love with a girl.  It is a lot of fun to read.  There is no real complexity to it.  This is just some nice cheesecake.  Something good to curl up with.  And really, is that so wrong, when enjoying a book?

Disclosure6. Disclosure, by Michael Crichton
See, I told you there would be some more books by this guy on the list.  Now, while most people will rightly lionize Crichton for his science-fiction work, I honestly think that some of his corporate espionage books were great too.  And of those, this was my favorite.  The book is about a man who works for a software company.  He is expecting a promotion as a new business merger is about to happen.  However, he is passed over, and the promotion is given to somebody he didn’t expect – an ex-lover of his, who left him long ago.  Being a married man, he wants nothing to do with this woman, but she invites him to his office and tries to put the moves on him.  He rejects her, but when he comes to work the next day, he finds out that he is being charged with sexual harassment.  Instead of bowing out gracefully, he decides to fight back, hiring a lawyer and charging her right back with sexual harassment.  This book takes a rather hard look at gender roles, and it doesn’t back down from its premise.  It makes the argument that men can just as easily be victimized, and that things are not as black and white as society wants them to be.  Looking at gender happens a lot in this book, and I love how much respect they give how heavy a topic this is.  Along the way, the man finds a trail of sex, lies, corporate greed, and how his company was intending to screw him and many others.  It’s a great book, if you like a good conspiracy story.

5. The Sacrifice/The Solution, by K.A. Applegate
I said that I was going to pick only my top 10, but I am cheating a bit.  Honestly, I just couldn’t find a way to pick between these two books.  They are both so similar in mood and tone (and in the same series), that I couldn’t pick between them.  I was pondering making a list of what I believe to be the Top 10 Underrated Series’s.  If I did, the Animorphs series, which these two books are both a part of, would be high on it.  This series tells the story of a group of children who, by sheer chance, is in a construction yard, where an alien life-form comes crashing down.  He tells them of an alien menace who has been slowly invading Earth, and is looking to take control of all life.  To date, there is no effort against them, because they are keeping their operation small, so no one will notice.  And they are winning.  The children are given a device that allows them to change into any animal (including people) that they touch and acquire the DNA of.  This series is amazing.  The themes at play are just great.  There is the loss of innocence, the cost of war, what it means to be human, how you cannot recapture your past life once you’ve lost it, and so many others.  And the two books that capture it best are these two.

The SacrificeThe first, The Sacrifice, is the third from the last.  Without spoiling anything, it has been a long war.  The Animorphs are tired, and ready for it to be over.  Things are getting worse and worse towards the end, and now, they have one last plan to do some major damage to their enemy, hoping that help that they sent message to would arrive.  Each book in the series is told from a first-person perspective of only one character.  This one is from the Andalite youth, Aximili, or just Ax, for short.  His people have commanded him to let the invasion continue on Earth.  That would have the Yeerk threat amassed on Earth, and able to be crushed in one swift blow.  It would be final, and it would be over.  But all of humanity would die in the process.  The internal monologues in this book are AMAZING!  Ax wrestling with himself over what the right thing to do is is so powerful that I could read just that scene alone a million times.  The conclusion he comes to is so brief in the end of the book, but powerful.  It’s great.

The SolutionThen there is The Solution.  This is from the character Rachel’s perspective.  As far as character growth is concerned, I think that Rachel is by far the crowning achievement of the series.  She goes from an adrenaline junkie who loves the fighting, to becoming consumed by her love of carnage, to the point where arguments have been made that she is kind of a sociopath.  By the end of the series, even her own mother is scared of her.  And in this book, she confronts her own internal darkness in a very big way.  The dialogue between her and Jake, her cousin and leader of the Animorphs, is another scene that is so good that I could read it over and over again.  These were great books, of an incredibly underrated and relatively forgotten series.

Carrie4. Carrie, by Stephen King
One thing that I, and pretty much every literature critic under the sun has gotten on King about is the fact that he cannot end a book to save his life.  Stephen King is a very good writer, but that has always been one of his Achilles Heels.  But this book does not suffer from that at all.  Telling the story, from multiple perspectives, of the events leading up to a girl with telekinetic powers going on a psychotic rampage, you get into a lot of character’s heads, and it has a conclusion that is so sad, yet leaves you with a feeling of disturbed dread, because it implies that this sort of thing is going to happen again.  You really do feel for Carrie.  Even though what she did was monstrous, you have to wonder – is it really her fault?  She tried to be a good person.  She tried to be a good Christian.  But the ugliness of the people around her, and the ugliness of the belief system her mother shoved down her throat tore this girl apart.  In the end, I think this was a brilliant critique on society as a whole, and religion.  Something King was good at.  I loved this book.  Every page of it.

Prey3. Prey, by Michael Crichton
This is the last book by Crichton, I promise.  But man, this is an awesome book!  This is the book which I think was the magnum opus of Crichton’s talent as a writer.  He took something that is still pseudo-science, to this day, and made it something we could all understand.  One of the cool thing about Crichton is that he takes things that are real science, and then moves them ahead to the next step.  In this book, it looks at nano-technology, and also the integration of science and nature.  The story is about a man, who goes from software developer to stay-at-home dad, but is forced back into the mix when a nano-tech program goes haywire, and things are getting dangerous.  This book has some great tension.  I won’t spoil it for you, but the last third of it is just great.  I was so pissed when I would have to stop reading to go to class or work or something.  It legitimately pissed me off.  This book was awesome, truly awesome.  From start to finish, it was Crichton’s best work, by far.

World War Z novel cover2. World War Z, by Max Brooks
When I first heard the title of this book, you can imagine that I was more than a little skeptical.  A book about a global zombie war?  Come on.  How can that possibly be good?  Thankfully, I got one of the best answers ever.  Max Brooks is another of those authors who really does his research, and isn’t afraid to show it off.  And he did just that in this book.  This book is told as a series of interviews with people who went through the events of a narrowly avoided zombie apocalypse.  It looked at the beginning, middle and end of the zombie war.  Man, the cultural authenticity to this book was great, just great.  You felt like all of the people belonged in their respective places.  From looking at the corruption of American politics, our over-blown belief in how badass our military is, to looking at a Japanese young man, who had hid from the world for his entire life, now having to face the world when it is falling apart.  I think that my favorite segments in the book were the one from the perspective of the soldier, talking about America’s failure that nearly cost them the war, to the segment about how the entire country of North Korea completely disappeared.  In one night, everyone from that nation vanishes.  When you look at how dogmatic that nation is, it makes sense, and the tension that that scene leaves is incredible.  This was a great book.  Don’t let the title fool you.

And my favorite book, to date, is…!

The Amber Spyglass1. The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman
I was battling between myself to cheat again and put the entire series up here, because I love all of these books so incredibly much.  But when I thought about this series, my first thought went to how much I love this book, the third and last.  This book was great.  There were so many emotional scenes.  The plot of this series is unbelievably complex, so I won’t go too much into that.  This book picks up where the last left off, with Lyra having been kidnapped by her mother, and Will, her traveling companion, looking to save her, with the help of two angels.  The events of this book are so dark, and so heartless at time, you do feel legitimately hurt by it.  The dialogue between Will and Mrs. Coulter (Lyra’s mother) when he finds her is so damn intense, but it gets into the darkness of both of these characters.  But my favorite scene, and I say this from my inner romantic, is from a scene towards the end, where Will and Lyra finally admit their love for each other.  That scene is so intense, and so beautiful, I love it.  But then it comes to the saddest, most unnecessarily painful ending of all time.  For real, this ending was brutal on a level that I have never seen, before or since.  I wonder if I actually had to be, but that’s nit-picking.  The fact is that I love this book, so incredibly much, and were it not for the ending, I would love this series like nothing else.

Until next time, a quote,

“I was awake and I wanted to tell you the same and now I know what I must have felt all the time: I love you, Will, I love you.”  – Lyra Belacqua

Peace out,


Top 10 Movie Monsters

Okay, so, I thought I might mention that February is Top 10 month.  I have a lot of top ten ideas that I want to get off my chest, so I thought I would do a lot of them this month.  Now, I have a lot of other ideas that I would like to do, but yeah, this is the month I am going to do them in.  And while I am in the spirit of things, I thought that I would do my top ten list of movie monsters.  I am not much for horror movies, but every now and again, a monster comes along that really just tickles my fancy.  So, with that in mind, I thought that I would give you all my list of monsters.

10. The Shark
Say what you want about the cheesy effects, but it was by sheer chance that Spielberg happened upon a great film that he created.  The shark from Jaws represented everything to fear about water.  It was a creature that hunted, mercilessly.  It would attack you, no matter what.  It made an entire generation of people afraid to go in the water.  It was also a very primal hunter.  Unlike monsters like the Alien from the Alien series, this was something that could actually attack you, actually kill you.  It was pretty freaky.  Something to think about every time you decide to take that plunge.

9. Ginger
Ginger Snaps
Here is a very human monster, but what I love so much about this was that she was slowly becoming a monster.  Body and soul, she was slowly turning more and more into a creature, and because her little sister, who was clearly the smarter of the two, loved and depended on her so much, she covered this transformation.  She hid it from the world.  But Ginger was definitely a fun character.  This film proves that you don’t need a huge budget to make a scary and suspenseful film.  Katherine Isabelle was perfectly cast, playing the manipulative and slowly more and more evil sister, eventually culminating in her becoming a monster completely, and her little sister having to end things, once and for all.

8. Tyrannosaurus Rex
Jurassic Park
This was such a cool movie.  The book will alway be a hundred times better, but this film definitely brought the terror to life like no film had before.  And here you have one of the star attractions.  T-Rex was not only huge, but terrifying.  He was a creature that had no equal.  This was the kind of monster that wasn’t really a monster at all.  That’s the cool part.  This isn’t a creature being malevolent for no reason.  It’s a dinosaur doing what it was always meant to do – hunt and kill its prey.  And it is so freakin’ cool!  Every scene with this guy in it is too cool for words.  Everybody who has seen this film thinks of T-Rex when they think of Jurassic Park.  He’s on the cover, he’s an iconic piece of film.  An epic creature for all time.

7. Alien
The Alien series, along with Alien vs. Predator series
This is another classic monster.  When it was first created, the maker of the original film knew that it was just going to be a guy in a rubber suit.  So he didn’t make it about the creature.  He made it about the crew.  The suspense in this movie was elevated to the highest levels because of the monster that was among them, picking them off, one by one.  Then the sequel showed what could be done with a horde of these creatures, able to destroy and kill, even among well-trained marines.  Whenever one thinks of what could be in space, this is what comes to their mind.  Merciless, ruthless, misunderstood, it is many things, and all of them make what was said on the cover of this movie very true – in space, no one will hear you scream.

6. Cloverfield Monster
This is a monster that really came out of left field.  A lot has been said about it, and some of it is good, some of it is bad.  I had always thought this was some kind of alien creature, but the internet says otherwise.  But honestly, for me, what made this monster so interesting was the fact that it was totally misunderstood.  The military is trying to fight it, but you see them totally outmatched, seeming to do little to no real damage to the creature.  Even at the end, you don’t know if they actually dispatched it or not.  There is some contest about it, which I think is kind of cool.  Online debates are fun to watch.  But for real, it’s big, it’s destructive, it is able to take unbelievable amounts of punishment, what’s not to love?

5. The Inhabitants
Rose Red
For being a TV movie, I thought this was a pretty good film.  Given the absolute AWFUL track record Stephen King adaptations have in that department, I think this was very cool.  And it was legitimately freaky, too.  You can tell that all these monsters are either done with makeup or animatronics, but here, they actually made it very believable, and it was freaky.  The voice-overs they got were scary, and the situation was great for it.  The character interactions with these creatures made the fear that much bigger.  I don’t think there is a single aspect of this film that I didn’t like.  These are the kinds of people that you have nightmares about.  When I watched this film with my two cousins, we were so freaked that when it got to the intermission, none of us wanted to leave.  Very well done, for sure.

4. Zombies
A whole bunch of films
I think I will always like this concept.  In the book, World War Z (A novel I hope they NEVER make into a film), they were able to show how this concept is not only scary, it’s actually literature worthy.  That book I do believe to be literature.  But on film, it has been done well, and it has been done poorly.  George A. Romero’s films generally do this concept very well.  What is most terrifying about the undead is that they are an enemy who will always hunt you.  They are like a disease.  They don’t tire.  They don’t fear.  They will never stop, until you are dead.  You can run, but eventually, you will tire.  But they won’t.  It’s the most merciless enemy that there is.  To imagine it in real life is actually pretty terrifying.  Ones that can run even moreso.  A timeless concept that still brings fear to the mind.

3. Vampires
A whole bunch of films (that aren’t Twilight)
Whether they be the owners of a night-time strip club, or refined gentlemen, the vampire will always be the staple of fear.  These are creatures who aren’t stupid, like zombies.  Nor are they animals, like werewolves.  These are monsters who are careful, methodic, smart.  They look at us humans like a farmer inspecting his chickens, choosing which to slaughter for the night.  They will forever immortalize the creature of the night, and will  forever be in our dreams.  Something to lust after, and something to fear, they may just be the perfect predator of the moonlit night.

2. Predator
The Predator series, as well as Alien vs. Predator series
Now, after putting something like the vampire down, how can I possibly put the Predator above them?  That’s what you’re thinking, I know.  But this is such a cool monster!  It doesn’t really want what any of the other monsters on this list want.  It wants a worthy foe.  It is hunting us, trying to find a hunt that is worthy of their talents.  They come to Earth, looking to find the worst combat areas, the worst parts of death and carnage, so they can find prey that is actually worthy.  They have incredibly cool tech too!  Another cool aspect about them is that they aren’t just merciless killers.  They have a very complex society of hunters, and when one of them dies, they show respect.  It is shown that they have an an almost spiritual look on things.  Their adornments show this.  These aren’t just psychotic killers, but a society of hunters that is always looking for the perfect prey.  And I love them so.

These are all a lot of cool monsters.  What could possibly top them?

1. Velociraptor
Jurassic Park
Now, maybe it is just my huge childhood love for dinosaurs that is motivating me here, but honestly, I love these guys.  I loved them in the book so much more.  In the book, they were 20 times as terrifying, because you could see more of their intelligence, and they actually had some cool adaptations.  Some of them mutated in ways nobody foresaw.  One version of raptors was able to change skin colors!  Fucking raptor chameleons!  Now that’s awesome!  But in the film, they were still awesome.  Intelligent, resourceful, and always hunting you.  They not only symbolized the ultimate primal predator, but if you think about it, had it not been for the asteroid that struck Earth, we might all be a raptor society right now!  I don’t know about you, but I think that that’s really freakin’ cool.  In any case, these are always going to be the greatest predator in my eyes.  I hope you enjoyed them too.  They are certainly the perfect movie monster.

Until next time, a quote,

“You bred raptors?!”  -Alan Grant, Jurassic Park

Peace out,


A Concept That Never Grew Up

A couple hundred years ago, there was a dramatic shift in the way humanity conducted itself.  The human race was starting to gain more and more knowledge about the world in which they lived.  The cesspool that had been society was getting a lot cleaner with more modern cities, soap, and things like baths not being something which only a king could have.  The world began to turn a corner.  Once knowledge became an easier thing for the common man to come by, things really started to kick off.  Civilization more and more started to look at improving the world in which they lived.  It began a new age of reasoning, enlightenment, and pursuing the endless wealth of knowledge the world has to offer.  Alas, there was one concept that never took the time to grow up.

Over the past couple hundred years, the human race has come forward in incredible ways.  Writers like Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, and a list that goes on and on, were changing the way humanity was viewing the world.  A nation of servants became a nation of free people’s.  Another war happened in that nation to free everybody from bondage.  So many things happened.  Women went from being people who were trapped in the kitchen, loyal to the wishes of their husbands, to members of the working force.

Where it once took an age to get from one end of this world to the other, the journey could now be done in a day, or if one was at sea, a few weeks at most.  The world was made a much smaller place, and things were interconnected in ways that nobody ever thought possible.  Truly, the Founding Fathers had no idea what this world would become.  Those who defend the Constitution like it should be written in stone, the Libertarians, they are the real fools.  None of our fore-fathers could have foreseen the world that would grow up out of the seeds that they had planted.

And the advancements of science began to massively pick up.  In fact, the further along science got, the faster the knowledge and innovations happened.  It has gotten to the point today that the innovations that we all once loved as children are now nothing more than commonplace.  I remember watching with awe at the marvels of animation that came before my eyes that brought a world that was 65 million years gone back to life perfectly.  To have the loved concept of my childhood brought to life with wondrous clarity in front of me.  Technology has become such a rapidly progressing concept in the modern world that something that is only six months old is out of date.  In fact, science and technology have begun to grow at such a rapid pace that the marvelous things that got us to this point are being forgotten.  The Multi-Plane camera that Disney used to revolutionize animation is now a relic of a forgotten past.

With modern technology making everything in this world more convenient, with people not having to struggle with the activities of maintaining one’s life, we are not beginning to more and more become a culture of intellectual growth and scientific expansion.  The marvels of science are now all around us.  People take for granted how the great things that have come before, like the animation effects that brought dinosaurs back to life, are becoming things that are almost common.

People often don’t stop to think about how far we’ve come, and in a very short time.  From humanity’s near extinction over 70,000 years ago, to events like the Black Death that wiped out a third of the entire population on the face of the planet, we have suffered events that could have taken humanity.  Instead, we have bounced back from that, and grown more in number.  We take for granted how very young a species we actually are.  The dinosaurs have over 100,000,000 years of time as the lords of creation.  In that amount of time they had suffered multiple mass-extinctions, mutations, and even the slow transformation into new lifeform, which we now know as birds.  There are even rumors that had they been able to exist a few more million years, they would have been able to grow their minds, and becoming the lords that humanity has become.

However, in this age of science, reason, endless growth, there is one concept that has not seemed to come along with the rest of civilization.  It remains just as dogmatic, just as oppressive, and just as outdated as it was during the Enlightenment.  This concept is –

Religion has remained through all of these years.  All of its tenants, all of it’s rules, all of the the oppressive force it once wielded.  It still remains.  It strains reason to think that as civilization has begun more and more to grow out of the bounds of the world we understood, and learn more, that such a concept would remain unchanged.  Truly, it stands to reason that the fact that religion has remained is due to the fact that those in power have found it useful.  Those in power have required the solace it brings billions of people.  Those in power, want to keep their power.

With civilization becoming more and more a place where the old concepts become stale, commonplace, and culturally worthless, perhaps it is worth looking into how religion has remained so completely oppressive on the minds of humanity.  People are still just as dedicated.  And what’s more, the doctrine hasn’t changed.  Reason would lead one to believe that religion would need to change, to keep up with the modern environment.  Some could argue the current pattern of religion zealots getting more extreme in their views could be a sign of things.  That the faith-based system is starting to collapse and they need to rely on fear to keep it going.  Fear was what once gave it so much power.  But now, with advanced medicine, scientific mastery of the elements of the universe, and a growing movement for humanity to take care of one-another, perhaps religion is now being realized as the outdated belief system of people who wanted to control people.

For many years, for centuries, even, religion had total command over most of the known world.  It was oppressing science, oppressing sexuality, oppressing individuality, and oppressing dissent for a long time.  And now, now that we are beyond all that and those in religious power who are bitter about losing that power, it becoming clearer and clearer that God is no longer needed in this world.

Patton Oswalt had a brilliant bit about how religion began.  It was a way to police the world back when law was only able to get to so many.  But now we live in a modern world where the desert Abrahamic, and really all the other faiths, gods are no longer required.  And what’s more, civilization should be rejecting these beliefs more.  They are just as morally and culturally repugnant.  They  are just as socially corrosive.  They are just as useless and encouraging of ignorance as they once were.

Humanity needs to start looking deep within itself and start thinking about how we can survive as a species in the world of tomorrow.  America is learning a really needed lesson right now, that the rest of the world is culturally, socially, and politically leaving us behind.  Our adherance to dogma, our blind faith in a failed political model, and the basic understanding that our system is outdated needs to be accepted by the masses.

God is outdated.  That’s all there is too it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Does it not strain reason, or even explanation that such an anti-human property of our civilization’s adolescence could remain?”  -Meridian Frost, The Death of God

Peace out,