Almost Human

August 11, 2015 at 2:23 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Geekdom, Movies | Leave a comment
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Can androids become self-aware and experience human emotions? What would happen if they passed the Turing test? This was the premise of the movie, Ex Machina.

In the movie, a brilliant young man called Caleb was plucked out of his mundane life as a computer programmer to work on an experiment on artificial intelligence. His boss, Nathan, was a genius scientist who successfully created a female android named Ava. Caleb’s task was to interact with Ava and see if she could pass the Turing test – the global standard test for artificial intelligence.

Ex Machina poster

The test was conducted in an isolated research facility deep within the mountains. The experiment lasted for a week but it ended with surprising revelations. Caleb was  amazed with Ava’s ability to display and even feel human emotions. It wasn’t long before he concluded that Ava passed the test. But just as he learned of Ava’s capabilities, he too learned something more sinister happening inside the research facility.

This movie showed the humanizing of an android – a robot that believed she’s human but forever be reminded that she’s not because of the way she looked. It showed just to what extent an android would do to become human.

Ava the android

But what I really loved about this movie was the unexpected twist at the end. Caleb suddenly became the subject of the experiment not just Ava. Ex Machina showed us how human weakness could become a powerful tool and exploited by an android. Ava learned how to manipulate, deceive and inject just the right emotions to convince Caleb to turn against Nathan.

Alicia Vikander’s performance as Ava the android was simply superb. Her facial expressions and the way she moved had that fluidity of a human/robot hybrid without looking clunky and well, robotic. The slightest turn of her head or the way she blinked had that right balance to convince the audience that she’s not entirely a robot – nor human.

At the end of the movie, you could almost sympathize with her and her plight but at the same time feel horrified at the coldbloodedness of her actions as a robot.

When John Connor Pulled a Darth Vader

July 5, 2015 at 12:07 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Geekdom, Movies | Leave a comment
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John Connor just went to the dark side of The Force. The hero has fallen – and it was all disappointing.

I’ve been a big fan of the Terminator movies since I was a child. I was in grade school when I first saw The Terminator and loved it. I also loved its sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the fourth installment Terminator: Salvation (let’s forget about the third one). The franchise always captivated me because of its compelling storyline about man versus machines. So when I saw the trailer of Terminator: Genisys, I got really excited. I had high expectations that it would be as good as the previous ones (except the third film). But now that I’ve seen the latest installment of the franchise, I’m not so sure.

terminator-genesis-poster-arnold

Photo credit goes to http://www.movies.mxdwn.com

I was expecting the liquid metal, T-1000 to be the main villain in this movie, or at least a new Terminator. I didn’t expect John Connor to be the bad guy. He’s supposed to be the hero – the leader of the resistance against the machines. But halfway through the movie, he turned out to be the main villain. Skynet got through him. It infiltrated his body and turned him into a human/machine hybrid. Now he was fighting for and with Skynet, not against it.

What really disappointed me was that the movie didn’t even show if John or any of his army actually attempted to fight Skynet when it was infiltrating his body. Like we’re supposed to accept the fact that the resistance was too weak and wasn’t prepared enough for a sudden attack. I wanted the ending to at least show if there’s anything left in John’s humanity. Heck, I wanted John (the human not the hybrid) to survive. I get that the writers wanted a tragic story but for me that felt a little flat. Those scenes with the hybdrid John Connor wasn’t as moving and heartbreaking as that scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith when Obi Wan Kenobi fought with the dark Anakin Skywalker (“You were the chosen one!”). Sarah Connor was more emotional about “Pops,” (a.k.a T-800, the Terminator sent from the future to protect her) than her son turning against her and the crusade).

The period of the time travels got a little confusing, too. So Sarah never became a waitress in 1984? If the hybrid John Connor was killed by T-800 (a.k.a Arnold) in 2017, then would that have affected the past and the future? I didn’t get the explanation as to why a young Kyle Reese from the past could meet the older Kyle Reese from the future. Perhaps I need to rewatch the entire franchise again to better understand this.

And by the way, T-1000 was underutilized in this movie. He was so badass in those scenes that it reminded me of how I felt about him when I first saw him in Terminator 2: Judgement Day – terrifying. The actor who played him was so good even though he had only one dialogue. I wanted to see more of T-1000!

Emilia Clarke did a fine job playing Sarah Connor, although the writers could have written her character to be more connected and bonded with her son than “Pops.” But I really missed seeing Linda Hamilton in that role. I hope she could appear in the next installment of the movie, even just for a cameo.

Of course it’s always good to see Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. That Arnold versus Arnold scene was so cool! I loved that Terminator: Genisys incorporated a few elements from the previous movies – the scene where Arnold was crawling on the floor with a dismembered arm looking almost defeated, the shoes that Kyle Reese was wearing, T-1000 melting and disintegrating, and the classic lines: “Come with me if you want to live,” and “I’ll be back!”

Terminator: Genisys wasn’t as fantastic as I hoped it to be but it wasn’t all that bad either.

An X-pectation that Just Became Reality

March 31, 2015 at 9:15 AM | Posted in Fandom, Geekdom, TV | Leave a comment
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Every die-hard fan of The X-Files just went into a wild frenzy last week when Fox TV network formally announced the show’s revival. I am one of the millions of fans who jumped with joy after learning that The X-Files will be back on TV with brand-new episodes – and with the show’s original cast no less. Yes, that’s right. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will be back as Mulder and Scully.

XFiles classic logo

For the past few months, practically every X-phile was eagerly waiting for an official announcement after previous reports surfaced that talks between Fox and the cast about a possible revival were happening. I was expectant. My fellow X-phile friends were expectant, so did the rest of the fandom around the globe. So imagine our excitement (and screams of joy) when it was finally announced by Fox last week that The X-Files will indeed have a revival with the show’s creator, Chris Carter at the helm. David and Gillian also confirmed the news through Twitter.

I could hardly contain my excitement. My X-phile friends and I have been lobbying for a third X-Files movie since 2009, even joining other X-philes around the world in urging Fox to make another X-Files feature film. Now our efforts have been rewarded, albeit in another form.

Granted that the X-Files revival will only have six new episodes, I’m still looking forward to seeing Mulder and Scully again on the small screen. The last time I saw them was in the second X-Files movie, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, and of course in The X-Files season 10 comics, which I’m still currently reading. Based on reports, the revival will consist of mytharc and stand-alone (a.k.a monster-of-the-week) episodes, just like in the old seasons, so I’m very excited about this. It would be interesting to see Mulder and Scully together again and embarking on new adventures.

I’m also excited to see how Fox will update the show’s opening credits. But I do hope the classic X-Files theme song will remain unchanged. It’s a classic for a reason. And who knows, if this revival will be a massive success, maybe us X-philes will see a third movie after all? Or maybe a second set of brand-new episodes? We don’t know at this point. But one thing is for sure. The truth is out there.

Letting My Geek Flag Fly

August 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Posted in Geekdom, Lifestyle, TV | Leave a comment
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Growing up I never considered myself as a geek. Even though I loved Star Wars the first time I saw them as a kid and spent hours watching Dungeons and Dragons, Japanese cartoons and other sci-fi shows on TV (Captain Power, anyone?), the concept of geekiness eluded me until much later.

It was during college that my love for sci-fi became fully developed. I also became interested in the esoteric. I got hooked on watching Sliders, The Outer Limits, and most especially The X-Files. Strange and weird stories fascinated me. There’s something about them that left me with a sense of wonder.

As a child I was also fond of reading comics – from horror, comedy to action, I devoured every page and enjoyed every minute of it. It was actually my two cousins who introduced me to the world of Marvel and DC comics. I’ve read tons of superhero comics from Batman, Spider-man, Superman to Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor and the Green Lantern because of them.

X-Files comics season 10

Eventually I’ve outgrown comics in general and turned to books. In fact, I haven’t picked up a comic book for years until now, when The X-Files season 10 comics rolled out this year. Of course being an X-phile myself I couldn’t let this opportunity passed by. I got the first three issues of the comics already and am still waiting for the succeeding issues to come out.

But my level of geekiness is nothing compared to my other geek friends who are almost comparable to Sheldon Cooper and the gang from The Big Bang Theory. I’m just a regular fangirl and my knowledge of geek pop culture is limited. I’m not very good in science and mathematics. However scientific discoveries always fascinate me.

I Spent the Afternoon with Superman

June 13, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Posted in Geekdom, Movies | Leave a comment
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So I’ve just seen the movie, Man of Steel. Yup, I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long time. And since it’s a holiday today, I thought it’d be the perfect time to watch the movie on its first day of screening at the local cinemas.

Even though I expected that many people are also going to watch this today, I was still surprised at the turnout. The cinema was fully packed as early as 11:00 AM. There were already long lines at the ticket booth when I came. I didn’t make any ticket reservations so I got in line with the rest of the crowd. I managed to purchase a ticket for an afternoon schedule.

I saw the original Superman movie when I was just a kid and loved it. I also read the comics as a child even though I vaguely remember any of the stories. As an adult, I’m not really a comic book fan so I’m not sure how the Superman story evolved. But Superman is still my number one favorite superhero; Batman being my second. I could only hope that the new Justice League movie would really come into fruition and be better than The Avengers.

You can read my Man of Steel movie review in a separate post here.

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