SciFi Things That Shouldn’t Be

I do like my science fiction. I also don’t see a problem calling it “SciFi” unlike a great many anal people out there. Call it SciFi, call it SF, or whatever you like. Just as long as you don’t call it “SyFy“, because that’s plainly fucking stupid.

But yes, the point. I am prepared to give SciFi a wide latitude when it comes to ideas, and rules, and breaking those rules. I will accept most things, as long as the consequences of those things are logically extrapolated. Books are good at this, and even if the premise is wild it is generally followed through logically. But there are four things in SciFi movies that I find to be unforgivable.

And they are:

1) The Borg Queen – The Borg were a fantastic creation. A completely zombie-like race who shared a common mind and didn’t give a shit about you as long as you weren’t a threat. And all they wanted was your gadgets. Which they took. Plus those fantastic cube ships, showing a complete lack of imagination. Wonderful. Then what do the writers do? They thrash the idea by introducing, for dramatic effect, a fucking queen Borg, a move that destroys the best thing about them – their coldness and pure socialist ethic. And as much as I enjoy seeing Alice Krige in latex, the idea of a Borg leader is just fucking dumb. Goodnight, the Borg.

2) The second Star Wars trilogy – Oh don’t even go there. It never fucking happened, alright? Midi-chlorians my dangly hairy balls. Jesus. They should have done a trilogy of wookie coming-of-age movies instead. Or just six hours of backstage footage of Carrie Fisher squeezing into that gold bikini. Now that I’d watch!

3) The Independence Day virus upload – I love this one. Let’s fly to the Alien spaceship, hook up to their extraterrestrial WiFi (with a fucking iBook!) and upload a virus, to a system we have never before seen and don’t understand. It takes me half a day to set up my network at home, and that’s when all the parts have been produced on Earth. Nope, I don’t buy it.

4) And then we have the Matrix battery, the single biggest missed opportunity in SciFi movie history. Why did the machines keep the humans in slavery in those pods? To use them as the universe’s least efficient batteries? No, of course fucking not! They used their brains as the processing power for the Matrix itself! The Matrix hardware WAS in fact their brains, all of them, running that massive MMO, making them the slaves of their own minds. How the fucking hell was this plot point missed by the scriptwriter? I still shiver with anger when I see that scene, and it’s a black mark on an otherwise excellent movie.

Yeah, well, that’s it. And that’s the last thing I’ll ever feel the need to rant about, ever. From now on it’s all flowers, sunsets and  butterflies. And skipping through the tall grass while humming a happy song. Tra-la-la-la-fucking-laaaah.

/ paddy (who loves you all very VERY much)

13 thoughts on “SciFi Things That Shouldn’t Be

  1. Wait wait wait. I can’t tolerate this bashing! My geek mind can’t take the pummeling! You can trash Star Wars and Independence Day whose fanbase is surely handicapped, hehe, but not Star Trek or the Matrix.

    “And as much as I enjoy seeing Alice Krige in latex, the idea of a Borg leader is just fucking dumb. Goodnight, the Borg.”

    The Borg Queen doesn’t ruin anything at all. In the first episodes with the Borg, we were told that they were a purely collectivist species. Later it *appears* they go 180 when we have the Borg Queen and Borg specialization. But the two visions aren’t mutually exclusive because the Borg Queen is just a figurehead, a physical embodiment of collectivism and of the entire Borg computer system itself. And as for specialization, a society like that would “mix and match” people to whatever specialized function is needed for the moment and then re-specialize them into something else when it suits them. So the Borg remain purely collectivist despite and your honourable socialist principles remain intact.

    “Why did the machines keep the humans in slavery in those pods? To use them as the universe’s least efficient batteries? No, of course fucking not!”

    Stop!! I can’t take anymore! This means war, buddy. The fact is that humans in the Matrix are batteries and our bodies aren’t that inefficient at all. We take in nutrients to power a highly sophisticated brain on much less wattage than a computer that can’t even dress itself. Any good A.I. program would recognize that it’s best not to reinvent the wheel like we tend to do and take advantage of our brains. They never specified what sort of battery we were but the interpretation that we power the system through our brains and therefore are abstract “batteries” of the non-physical Matrix system makes sense. It was also explained that the Matrix *in the physical world* is powered on **a form of fusion**, so clearly it wasn’t meant that we are literal batteries for the physical machines themselves, just the non-physical system. The final message was that machines need us and we need the machines, as established by Councillor Hamann when he spoke with Neo at night in the ‘basement’ of Zion in Matrix Revolutions (3rd sequel).

    And at the end of it, it hardly matters what powers what because the entire Matrix universe that the three movies show us are eventually shown to just be virtual systems for a higher reality (as shown by Neo’s visit to Machine City where he smashes the squiggley sentinels with his mind even though that should obviously be impossible outside of the Matrix). Conclusion: Everything Morpheus (the Roman god of dreams, btw) told us (including the human batteries thing) is a dreamy lie because Morpheus was an AI Matrix program designed to keep people in line while the giant Genetic Algorithm went through its cycle of evolution (as explained by the Architect program).

    Omg, I’m such a tragic geek. Wtf. Lmao!

    • The Borg: Bollox. “a physical embodiment of collectivism and of the entire Borg computer system itself” my arse. It ruins the original premise for the sake of dramatic tension. And for a hot cyborg in a tight dress.

      The Matrix: And it was that hastily tagged-on “together with a a form of fusion” that nailed it for me. A FORM of fusion? Then why not just fusion? Bullshit escape clause. And why discuss how much heat is developed by a human body when it’s not that which is being used? They never mention what form of battery we are because there IS only one form of battery – an energy source! So no, I don’t buy it. It’s a gaping hole in the plot and retro-fitting it with metaphysics doesn’t help.

      • No, no, no! Heresy! Let’s set you straight, shall we?

        The Borg: The “queen” is just the hivemind in unison. There is no real leader and she’s not directing anything. Sorry. You lose. I hear nothing. Nyah nyah nyah.

        As for Jeri Ryan‘s excessive E-cups and ridiculous catsuit, she just carries on the “misogynistic smut torch” that had tickled hetero-dweebs back in the original 60s Star Trek when Nichelle Nichols first flaunted those silk chocolate gams. Lol! Smell the recipe for marketing success.

        The Matrix: You’re not paying attention: Nothing in the Matrix was real, including the “real world” of Zion. So we don’t know how many virtual layers the Matrix has.

        I say there’s the one layer of virtual reality with virtual humans used for virtual batteries making virtual heat for virtual power of a virtual subsystem of the Matrix. Yet, in a higher reality (the one actually outside the “Matrix”, the one we never see), the whole system is running on “a form” of fusion. This is perfectly possible.

        A “form” as in: hot fusion, cold fusion, fusion with ionized hydrogen plasma, fusion of matter-antimatter, fusion of strange-flavoured quarks, neutrino fusion, a singularity-powered engine, etc.

        Please. Do not be afraid of the sci-fi! Remember, fear is the mindkiller. Lmao.

  2. The sad thing about the second Star Wars trilogy is that there were a few good or chilling scenes (Anakin massacring the Sandmen, f’rinstance) but too much embarrassing crap surrounding it. However the real problem was that George Lucas set himself up with an impossible plot arc. He wanted to show where Darth Vader came from and how he became corrupted, but decided to start with a cute and likable little kid. Well maybe that works within the premise that there exists a Dark Side of the Force, but unfortunately it’s not psychologically convincing for a real human audience. Monsters like Vader exist in reality but they don’t start out like Anakin. You could see the problem right from the first movie when Yoda opposes Anakin’s training because he senses negativity (fear) in him. Well spotted Yoda. Unfortunately there’s nothing in the character of Anakin that we the audience see to suggest that Yoda is right – not even the vaguest hint of foreshadowing. So his eventual transformation seems arbitrary and artificial, not an organic development from his personality and circumstances.

    • Being a total outcast, I interpret this completely differently. Lol. The movie tells us that Yoda is a wise, all-knowing puppet, much much older than Betty White, living an ascetic life in the swamps that Kermit the Frog was born in.

      It’s natural that the plot is such that it conveys that our green midget friend has senses beyond that of the mere mortal audience. So even though Anakin is portrayed as pure Disney goodness, Yoda still feels a bad vibe in the Force that we can’t feel… cuz we the audience are without Force. We-sah Force-blind, boyos! LOL!

      Also, keep in mind that even the Marquis de Sade was an innocent little boy once.

  3. Re: #3: Hey, it’s a Mac. It just works!

    I thought that was pretty weird myself, especially since it wasn’t an iBook, it was the notorious burst-into-flames-just-sitting-there Powerbook 5300 that nearly crippled Apple’s laptop computer sales. Apple couldn’t even sell you a laptop computer when that movie came out. They were all in emergency whatever recall. On the other hand, Apple probably has a cult following among Area 51 weenies.

  4. Leaving aside the fact that there was no need for three additional, CGI-laden Star Wars movies, the error Lucas committed was that he focused on the wrong character. The second trilogy should have been about Kenobi. How he went from a young Padawan to the old Ben on Tatooine, last of a destroyed Order of monk-warriors who gives his life so that a younger, more promising apprentice could end the Empire. It would have allowed Lucas to show us in movies II and III a meaner Anakin, turning harder on the Dark Side, more deserving to become Vader (do you remember the first time you seen him? That guy was freaking the shit outta me…)than the whiny little kid we’re kinda supposed to sympathize about.

    Really, knowing about poor old Anakin’s story kinda ruins the Original Trilogy for me. I had imagined better.

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