Category Archives: film video or TV

Music for the movies gets covered in a few DVD’s

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Recently, a couple of Netflix DVD’s in my queue gave a refresher course in movie music.

There is a series by Joshua Waletsky “Music for the Movies” with  particularly attention to “The Hollywood Sound”, originally in PBS in 1995, released on DVD by Kultur and Sony in 2007.

John Maurceri, of the BBC Symphony of Wales conducted the many samples.  The film opens with a drummer announcing the 20th Century Fox fanfare (by Alfred Newman), and then takes us to that climactic music before the intermission of “Gone with the Wind” (MGM and Sleznicj), when Scarlett screams “I will never be hungry again” (even if I have to life and cheat), with that image that stays with us forever.  The film points out that the composer, Max Steiner, was trained in the style of German romanticism of Mahler and Strauss.  Musical scores in the old days used to end loudly, as “The End” would flash on the screen because in the past the credits were always at the beginning.

There’s a lot of discussion of David Raksin’s score for “Laura” (1944), the story of a detective who falls in love with a dead woman. Raksin says he had writer’s block, but the famous theme came to him when he received a letter from his wife that she wanted to leave him.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was another Hollywood composer in the German tradition. He agreed to score “Robin Hood” only after his family had to flee Germany and all his belongings in Germany were confiscated.

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The film paid a lot of heed to the career of Alfred Newman, including the influence on him of British composer Delius.

A couple of my own favorite scores are Hans Zimmer’s constant ground-bass in “Inception” (2010), and the score of “A Canterbury Tale” (1944), the triumphant conclusion and postlude of which seems to be based on the way Havergal Brian’s Third Symphony ends (although it throws in “Onward Christian Soldiers”.)

The film quoted Oscar Wilde, “To be understood is to be found out.”

There is a DVD “Maurice Jarre: A Tribute to David Lean” where Jarre conducts the London Symphony in a 1992 concert of suites of music from all of his film scores.  My favorite is “Dr. Zhivago”, which I saw in Kansas City at the Capri Theater on an icy December night in December 1966.  Another film getting a lot of attention on the DVD is “A Passage to India”.

There is some good music in the trademark fanfares that the studios own.  Newman composed the 20th Century Fox intro, which the studio uses failthfully.  Most other studios use their trademark music only sproradically.   Lionsgate has experimented with a horror intro, and two different orchestral outbursts, the newer one being Wagnerian.  Universal’s is also rather like Valkyries, and Columbia has the rising theme.  Even some smaller companies, like Roadside Attractions, have new lingos.  I wish Warner Brothers would use it piano concerto-like setting from “Casablanca” consistently.

Paramount has announced its 100 years as follows:

“Gone with the Wind”: big epic films used to provide family experiences; and this one has never lost its moral edge

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At a grocery store recently, I saw and picked up a TV Guide “American Icons Special Edition” for “Gone with the Wind: 75 Years of the Greatest Movie Ever Made”.

I first saw DWTW with my mother and male cousin (one year older) late on a Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1954, when I was 11.  I think we saw it at the Arlington Theater on Columbia Pike in the southern part of Arlington.  We got there about a half hour early and saw the end, about where Melanie dies, and I was even struck then about the loyalty of the former slaves, like Mammy.

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My parents had always said that this was the “best” movie ever made.

The family also had a motion picture edition of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, published in 1940 by Macmillan. The book has many color plates from the film, and the Technicolor look is quite garish and fascinating to the eye, especially with the indoor scenes with costumes, dresses and furniture.

As kids, a few scenes fascinated us.  For example, the tragic scene where Bonnie dies when the horse misses a jump (anticipating what could happen to Christopher Reeve), and that famous line by Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) right before the end, where he says a word unmentionable at the time. In the book, Rhett lectures her that making apologies aren’t always enough in real life.

The book and film are still notable for their moral outlook.  Scarlet seems spoiled and sheltered, and unaware that her privilege comes at the expense of others (slaves).  She is in Atlanta when Sherman comes, and the burning of Atlanta and later Tara provide a big climax for the film before the intermission.  Scarlet is mortified by the wounds to the men, and learns something about privation and hardship.  The first half ends with the line, “I will never be hungry again”.

Indeed, Scarlet becomes a schemer, rather like Sami in the soap “Days of our Lives”.  She may have lost it, but she gets it back, and she can get her hands dirty.  (That theme comes up again in the novel and film “Cold Mountain”, maybe the last movie my late mother ever saw, where there is a line, “I can embroider but I can’t darn.”)

It’s easy to imagine what can be done with the plot skeleton of a novel like this. Imagine an EMP blackout of much of the country, and a “revolution”.  But suppose, instead of the permanent change to the world as in the NBC series “Revolution” (to be taken up later here), power and even Internet gradually comes back over many months.  Could people rebuild?  Would wealth change hands?  Would a Maoist kind of personal justice take place for many people?

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I saw the GWTW complete film again in 1998 at the Mall of America in Minnesota, after New Line re-released it.  I think I saw it on July 4.  A graduating college student friend from the Libertarian Party almost joined me.  On repeated viewings, the film, despite its 220-minute length, seems to become episodic in the second half and some of the scenes seem rushed and superficial, such as when Rhett takes Bonnie to London.  (It would not have been possible to make a quick trip overseas in the 1800’s.)  Another good example of this occurs when Rhett and Scarlet go to New Orleans.

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The music score, by Max Steiner, is sweeping and monumental.

I used to like the epic historical movie (and still do, when one gets made, which isn’t that often).  There have been a few others, like “The Robe” (1953, the first in Cinemascope, and I remember crying at the end when the hero is put to death), “The Ten Commandments”, “War and Peace”, and “Dr. Zhivago” (which I saw on a bitterly cold night in Kansas City when I was a grad student, at the Capri Theater).  Don’t forget “Giant”, which I saw in the 1980s at the Inwood Theater in Dallas.  A few of the big musicals were also quite long, like “The Sound of Music” (and the earlier “Carousel”, “Oklahoma!: and “South Pacific”).  In 1968 we had “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and after then, it became rather rare for movies to have intermissions (although “Hamlet”, from Columbia, in 1996, does, and runs almost 4 hours).  The first two or three Cinerama movies had intermissions.    It used to be that going to a big historical epic at a big theater downtown (when Washington had theaters like the Capitol, Palace, Columbia, Warner, RKO Keith’s) was a big deal, and usually an outing for the whole family (sometimes, as in our case, extended family). In those days, films showed downtown, and then circulated in the “neighborhoods” for 2-4 day runs.  The neighborhood theaters quickly got caught up in being able to show Cinemascope and even stereo by the mid 1950s.

There is a lot written about the casting of GWTW. Even in the 1930s, producers paid a lot of attention to the “adequacy” of the women chosen to be cast, such as Vivien Leigh, and then even specified exercises to maintain their “appearances”.  The heterosexual eye was capable of a lot of fantasy.

“Summerland”: brief WB series explored “involuntary family responsibility”; so do many indie films

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The Spelling Television series “Summerland” ran for just two seasons (2004-2005) but it made an interesting point about unelected family responsibility.

Lori Loughlin (who, with Stephen Tolkin, created the series) plays Ava Gregory, a struggling fashion designer living nicely but frugally somewhere around Malibu Beach, in a village called “Summerland”, with a best friend, Susannah Rexford (Merrin Dungey).  When her sister and husband are killed in a car accident, she suddenly gets custody of the sister’s three children: teenage Bradin (Jesse McCartney), Nikki (Kaya Panabaker) and Derrick (Nick Benson).

The Pilot sets up the series well, laying out the issues.  In California, Ava balks at her boss, who doesn’t like her design concepts and wants her to travel to Japan, and wants to go solo.  Her boss reminds her that he owns the rights to all her work.  On the beach, she plans with Sue to go to Paris and cold-call to start her business.  In Kansas, Bradin is to look after his younger siblings as his parents go out to volunteer to throw sandbags to stop a river flood.  Fifteen minutes into the episode, Bradin calls Ava, crying, that he has lost his parents to a car wreck/

Lori and her friends, who include some in-and-out males (one of them played by Shawn Christian) are hardly prepared to raise OPC (other people’s children).  But Brandin, while sometimes flirting with trouble, becomes an impassioned surfer, doning wetsuits.

In the second season Ava falls in love with a middle school principal (a male around 40) and the wedding ceremony fails as it starts.

The second season also introduced Zac Efron as the very likeable teen Cameron Bale.

The series had some lilting music, and tended to replace “Everwood” in the same timeslot on the WB in the summer.  It’s interesting that the genesis of the plot concept is similar.

The idea that people wind up raising relatives’ children has been presented in film a few times, such as with “Raising Helen”, “Breakfast with Scot”, “Saving Sarah Cain”, “Gracie’s Choice”,  “The Conrad Boys“, “In from the Night” (where the parent is a writer), “Abel’s Field”, “Any Day Now”., and Jeff London’s little known “Regarding Billy“.  A few films on this issue have aired on Lifetime or Hallmark, and their sources range from Christian groups to LGBT.  The idea comes up in the soap “Days of our Lives”, which will be discussed here later.

“Everwood” was an important WB series about a possible teen piano prodigy, and a doctor who doesn’t need to charge

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The WB (and CWTV) ran several  series that interested me ten years ago, and another one for me to review is “Everwood”, which started in the fall of 2002 and ran for four seasons (ending in the spring of 2006).  Sometimes reruns appear on ABC Family.  The series was created by Greg Berlanti (also, “Jack & Bobby” and “The Tomorrow People”, to be discussed later, with the latter of these dealing with teens with “powers”, and reminds me of NBC’s “Heroes”).

The premise is that a successful NYC neurosurgeon Andy Brown (Treat Williams) loses his wife to a tragic auto accident in an ice storm.  He moves himself and his two kids to the town of Everwood, CO, deep within the Rockies. He sets up a general practice and doesn’t even charge (believe that in these days of Obamacare), which draws the ire of the competing doctor Abbott (Tom Amandes).

Brown has two gifted children, a younger daughter Delia (Vivienne Cardone), and her older brother Ephram (Gregory Smith), who is supposed to be turning about 15 when the series starts.  The family is Jewish but secular, but Ephram has already bad a bar mitzvah. Brown’s moral values are typical for his background, a kind of careful individualism, unsettled when right and wrong are not as clean cut as they should be.

Ephram’s gift is piano, and the potential to become a concert pianist.  Much of the plot of the series revolves around Ephram’s progress toward getting into Julliard.  In one episode, he has “learned” the entire Beethoven Appassionata Sonata overnight. Ephram tends to be moody, but clever, and has a faceted personality.

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When he is about 16, Ephram has a fling with a 20 year old college student named Madison.  He is naïve, and has his first experience, in a scene quite well done.  Madison gets pregnant.  Andy decides to keep her pregnancy a secret from Ephram, a soap-opera-like idea that can set up a final confrontation when Ephram approaches the Julliard audition.

Eprham writes a high school essay called “My Greatest Flaw” which is “my inability to change”.  Does this mean that there is a moral imperative to grow into someone that can support a future bigger than the self?  You hope “that you’ll never have to change again.”


There are several other compelling subplots.  One of these happens in season 1 when Abbott’s son Bright (Chris Pratt, later to appear in “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Moneyball”, “Her”) has an auto accident with another teen, Colin (Mike Erwin) in the car sustaining a head injury.  At first, Colin seems to recover OK, but then Andy discovers that Colin has a hematoma or aneurysm that must be removed or it will eventually rupture. Colin agrees to the surgery.  But he dies at the end of Season 1 when the risky operation fails, and the entire town ostracizes Andy for his playing “Ben Casey”.

There is another subplot where a female doctor patient has HIV acquired from treating a patient in Africa, and tells Delia.  Others find out from Delia, and soon her own practice is destroyed by fearful patients, and her gay ex-husband tries to get custody of her kids. Through complications, Dr. Abbott winds up being threatened with loss of his malpractice insurance.

Later in the series there is an extraverted Dr. Jake Hartman (Scott Wolf), a skiing enthusiast.

The series always started each episode with some music that sounded like the slow movement of a late 19th century piano concerto, but what one?  The music may have come from Eugen d’Albert’s first piano concerto, written at age 18 or so, and inspired by Liszt, and filled with many familiar themes for such an obscure work.  Hollywood knows obscure romantic music well. Maybe the work should be called “The Everwood”.

Toward the end, after Ephram has given up Julliard and has to work playing piano at clubs to support his child, and also gives piano lessons (at 18), he takes on a gay teen pupil, Kyle, (Steven R. McQueen, grandson of the famous actor.  Had the series continued, probably Kyle would have become the important character with a professional career.

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In August 2005, I drove (from DC) to a “party” at King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia, where I met Gregory Smith and Chris Pratt.  Smith, now 30, stars in “Rookie Blue” and has directed two episodes, and has also produced a comedy “Wieners” for Screen Gems, and, in a change of style, a documentary about doomsday preppers, “Training for the Apocalypse”.

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Maybe the best outcome for this series would be a sequel movie based on the characters.  What has happened to Ephram, now in his mid 20s?  Has Kyle’s career taken off?  Or did Ephram somehow go to another music conservatory?  Yale would be interesting.  Maybe a movie, maybe a cable or web series.  Warner Brothers no longer has a separate brand for independent film (this would have been a logical release from “Warner Independent Pictures”, a brand that the company should bring back).

There is a newer series on CWTV, “Hart of Dixie” (2011- ), created by Lelia Gerstein.  about another transplanted (to Alabama) doctor (a woman, Zoe Hart, played by Rachel Bilson) that seemed rather underwhelming.

 

“Jake 2.0” gave us another young adult superman character, and the show was allowed to die

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Jake 2.0” provided some competition to “Smallville” in the fall of 2003, on the overlooked UPN channel.  But it apparently aired only the first twelve episodes in most markets, I believe; four more were aired in the UK, and the last three were never completed, after CBS/UPN canceled the show, because of ratings. David Greenwalt had been the executive producer.

Christopher Gorham, 29 when the series was filmed, played Jake, a computer technician at the NSA (National Security Agency) who gets “infected” with nanomites accidentally after a minor wound resulting from a shootout with a saboteur.

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Jake soon has super-strengths of the Clark Kent variety, including being able to run and jump great distances, and heal quickly.  Most of all, he can affect the contents of computer files with technotelepathy, his mind, which would be a dangerous capability. (Indeed, “let the hacking begin.”)  The idea somewhat foreshadows a similar idea in J J Abrams in “Revolution” today (to be discussed later).

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Jake is also concerned about morality, and the proper use of power, an idea that comes up in a conference scene in a late episode, and that would certainly fit the controversy over the NSA today.

There are episodes including stopping EMP attacks (before the idea was widely discussed) and dirty bombs.  There was a humorous episode with a paintball maneuver.  In one episode, Jake rescues his immature younger brother, and talks about “loyalty to blood”.

In the episodes that didn’t get aired, Jake had become a target of the NSA.

UPN (CBS) apparently didn’t even try to air all the episodes that had been filmed, replacing it with the silly “America’s Top Model” in January 2004.

I think the series would have done better if aired on a more visible network, and not in competition with “The West Wing.”


The series was filmed in Vancouver, but the Washington DC backdrops were put in seamlessly.

“Smallville”: Superman was once a teenager himself; recalling the 10-year television series

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The science-fiction television drama “Smallville” premiered on “TheWB” (eventually to become CWTV) on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2001, about five weeks after 9/11.  The Pilot must have been filmed weeks before, that summer, in British Columbia, but the scene of meteors crashing into the town of Smallville, KS may have seemed terrifying then.

That sequence had been preceded by a brief prologue, introducing the loving couple (John Schneider and Annette O’Toole), the Kents, who would find baby Clark in a corn field and take him home and raise him as their own (a godsend, since Martha couldn’t have children).  In that prologue we saw a boy Lex Luthor made bald for the rest of his life by the meteor exposure – a play on radiation fallout (or dirty bomb) fears?


Fifteen minutes into the Pilot, we’re shown a handsome teenage Clark, played by a youthful enough Tom Welling (then 24), gently arguing with his dad about not being allowed to play football because he could hurt other people.  Tall and strong but lean and lanky, he actually looks more like a future baseball 100-mph fastball pitcher than a lineman or quarterback.  He a freshman at Smallville High, apparently in ninth grade, and his legal records show him to be 14.  He is tall and physically strong for his age, but very socially awkward.  He is morally sensitive.  He wonders if he is special or just different. No one can explain his unusual strength (although that does exist in nature, genetically, in some young men), or ability to heal, or “speed” – ability to teleport himself by altering space-time.  Later, he will develop x-ray vision, which would allow him to scope people, and then heat vision, which could allow him to set things on fire telepathically (like Zak in “Revolution”).  His father, upon questioning, finally tells Clark that he is an alien, and shows him the spaceship in the barn.  It is quite a touching scene.  Clark “speeds off”, upset, after saying “You should have told me.”  Soon, he is somehow “disabled” and hazed in a notorious scarecrow scene (which some people see as an allusion to Matthew Shepherd), with the “S” painted on his smooth chest.

So this is to be the story of how the future Superman came of age, as a teenager.  The series would run for ten years.  But after the first three seasons, it seemed to lose focus and become more episodic.  But the earlier years will filled with suspense.  Season 1 ends with a tornado.  In the middle of Season 2, Clark meets Dr. Virgil Swann, played by Christopher Reeve, now a quadriplegic from his own 1995 horsemanship accident, trying to decipher his origin from hieroglyphics.  As his father Jor El and other forces from his home planet Krypton chase him, Clark faces a crisis at the end of Season 2.  He fears his end is coming, and in one scene the “S” is burned into his chest as a scar (although it seems to be reversible).  At the very end, Clark takes a motorcycle to Metropolis (usually shown by Vancouver, but in this episode the skyline of Kansas City MO was used), having invited Lana to come with him. The seasons ends with dramatic music (I think by Tchaikowsjy) as Clark rides to the city.

Clark usually has a moral compass that would make any parent proud, except when he is exposed to red kryptonite, which unmasks all inhibition and turns his usual kindness into a curious moral nihilism.  He can be brought back by green kryptonite, which can cause him to lose all his powers.  In fact, in another episode, he learns it is better to be “different” and have powers than be like everyone else.  (Like it is better to marry than to burn?)  In season 3, he starts working for the Metropolis Mafia (that is, Kansas City MO or Vancouver BC, interchangeably) and robs some ATM’s (which in more recent years has become a real crime problem), but then gets his moral compass back and returns home.  At the end of Season 3, it seems as though he has to go back “Home” – to the Phantom Zone – for the summer.

I was living in Minneapolis when the series started, and had been laid off at the end of 2001, and was about to start my “second life”.  Somehow, I saw a rerun of the Pilot over Christmas that year, I think while “home” in Arlington visiting mother.  I became intrigued with the series.  I remember seeing the finale of Season 2 the day before a successful job interview, still in Minnesota then.  But I also remember watching it in May 2002 in a motel on a trip to talk about my own book and movie possibilities. Smallville became a fixture.

Logically, Clark should have entered college in Season 5, and that would have been a better track than the episodic plot that followed.  Starting in 2004, Smallville had moved to Wednesday nights, at 8 PM ET, and I typically looked forward to watching it regularly in the middle of the 00 decade anyway, despite a weakening plot.  Instead of college, Clark actually works for a professor Fine for a while, on his way to eventually becoming a journalist.  Lois enters the plot during these years (having found him and “imagined him naked” at the start of Season 4 when he is back from the summer “abroad”).

Other devices from the comics come into the series, such as the Fortress of Solitude.  Other kinds of kryptonite get mentioned, such as black, which gives Lex powers.  There are all kinds of episodes with bizarre experiments, such as trading bodies.  Other interesting characters are offered, such as Oliver Queen (Justin Hartley, after a body shave relative to the soap “Passions”), reporter Jimmy Olson (Aaron Ashmore), whose cognitive abilities as a mere human can match Clark’s, and another teenager who can fly played by Richard Harmon (who would later star in “Judas Kiss”).

TheWB and later CWTV had impressive websites, with video and discussion boards, for the show, which in the early years added to suspenseful speculation as to where the plot would go.

There were some “revelation” scenes toward the end of the series that were a bit homoerotic, but homosexuality as an issue was rarely mentioned.  However, in one episode, when Clark did get to play football (and perhaps catch his own forward pass) he came to the defense of a gay classmate.  The issue probably would have been covered more had the series aired only two or three years later in span. Nevertheless, the parallel between Clark’s being “open” about his extraterrestrial origin (despite appealing human appearance) and openness about sexual orientation would be obvious, and the series ended while the final steps in the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy were being certified.  I think the show made a difference even in that debate.

Technically, the series was always broadcast in HD, and tended to use garish colors, lots of comic-book bright oranges and reds, which must have been achieved by manipulation of film stock.

Some individual episodes have some silly premises, such as when Clark and Lex exchange bodies.  A few show flashbacks, such as when Jor-El visits Smallville in 1961, and a marque for “Splendor in the Grass”, one of my favorite classic films, shows.

Created by Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the series was produced by Tollin, Robins Productions, which went on to produce the less successful “One Tree Hill“.

I have a detailed writeup on my “doaskdotell site” here.   The Blogger chain can be accessed from this link.

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I went to graduate school at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, getting my M.A. in Mathematics in early 1968, and I always equated Smallville to Lawrence, which really does look like Smallville in the show.

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I ask, does a real teen Clark Kent, who can teleport himself instantly, exist on Earth?  Maybe.  If so, I hope he goes to college.

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“Prometheus” (2012): When do angels, men, and other creatures get to play god?

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I’ve reviewed Ridley Scott’s film “Prometheus” before on my “Movies blog on June 8, 2012, here. Today, I watched the BluRay DVD on a new LG external drive, which I bought as an older Samsung started having trouble with BluRay.

The sci-fi film was notable for some of its ideas, which I did not give justice to in earlier reviews.  The BluRay DVD from 20th Century Fox came with a tier of extras, which I had trouble getting to work on the drive yet, hooked in to a large Toshiba laptop with Windows 8.  The Cyberlink install process for the DVD player is pretty complicated, sometimes wanting to repeat the same steps when you play a DVD.

The add-ons basically offer an “Archive” library of special effects, and a “Sync” capability to augment the movie with other video on your iPad or iPhone.  It seems a bit overdone.  But in sci-fi or fanatsy, a sync-up could be useful if the movie involves  journey through the “geography” of another world.   It could, for example, show you a train ride (as in a Harry Potter movie, or in the third dominion of Clive Barker’s 1991 fantasy “Imajica”, if that ever gets made).  It could present different kingdoms, as in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies and help you keep track of where you are. A page for the iTunes app and customer reviews is here.


The “Prometheus” film is widely understood as a prequel to the “Alien” series, but it creates a certain urgency.  After finding clues in caves around the world , a company and patriarch named Weyland sends a mission to a “nearby” solar system to the appropriate earth-like planet, and find it has been colonized with pyramids, spaceships and relics that resemble those of the Alien films.  Gradually, the movie builds on the idea that civilizations play god, and create other beings on other planets. There seems to be a race of super-humanoid “engineers” and an array of other snake or squid-like creatures that they can gestate.  And the crew (most of all the biologist Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the outspoken daughter of old man Weyland played by Charlize Theron (who else?) get a leg up on the plan that the “engineers” will soon return to Earth and destroy us and start over to build creatures that are somehow more perfect.

The film ends with a woman astronaut going alone to the original home of the aliens (rather prescient of “Ender’s Game”).

And the film also starts with a fascinating prequel, shot in Iceland, as an “engineer” takes a potion and dissolves, his body shifting into falls and ready to seed the Earth with DNA.  Creation can require sacrifice, as can legitimate procreation.

And the creation theme is illustrated by the droid David (Michael Fassbender) who is said to be a sentient AI being with no soul.  Can you really have free will without a soul? A similar being is invented in the “Alien” movies.

The idea that men become “relative” gods (like angels) capable of creating and manipulating other intelligent life is certainly morally provocative.

My own scripts and screenplays follow some of these themes.  This isn’t the time for a lot of detail, but I’ll mention a couple of teasers.  My “Do Ask, Do Tell: Manifesto” script has an aging protagonist (me) awakening in limbo, wondering if he has passed away, been kidnapped, been selected for bizarre employment. He is on another planet of sorts, a small model world partitioned into sections according to historical time.  He’ll be “trained” to live in different environments, and soon learn he is to judge, in a particular ritual, which of his beneficial “captors” really get to become immortal angels.

I have another sequence of scripts, called “Titanium” and “Prescience”, about a UFO “invasion” and abductions. In “Prescience”, the treatment of which I presented to a table reading group in Minneapolis in July 2003, right before retuning back to Arlington, puts the protagonist in a high-rise apartment in an enclosed area of an extraterrestrial city. He then finds, when he is cut loose, that he the alien world is itself a colony, settled in a ring around the transition zone of a tidally-locked earth-like planet, itself highly regulated without money, with people regulated in a super-Maoist-like world, which again has been segmented geographically according to time periods matching different personal temperaments.