Monday, 25 May 2009

Doctor Who - New series. new species part 19

Half Term for me so a chance to sneak in a bit of content while I can. I've a number of things I want to write about, but as the last special was quite a while ago now (in the UK at least) I think I should probably write about the Easter episode of Doctor Who and the new alien species it introduced. I thought the bus teleporting into the desert war rather reminiscent of Jumper and the rip-offs and references just keep coming on and on after that...


Humanoid flies have been a staple of Sci-Fi TV and movies since the '50s so I was hardly bowled over when these creatures showed up on set. I thought maybe they'd at least have an interesting background, but the crew managed to rip themselves off by reusing a concept from the animated series - a fly species that live by consuming the waste of other species - clever, if they hadn't already done it. The bugs then managed to top even this by forgetting how their guns worked - they were vaguely entertaining it must be said, but like the rest of the episode, they could have been so much more.

Tritovores were a spacefaring active in galactic culture by the early 21st Century. They had their own spaceships and weapons adapted to their physiology and had advanced translation technology for communication with other races, who couldn't often comprehend their clicking and whirring dialect - this technology could even detect lies in a users voice. They obtained or funded this technology by entering into a mutually beneficial agreement with other sentient species - they would take away organic waste, which they could consume, in return for the goods and services that planet could offer. This worked well for most of the traders, except for a ship that was headed for the planet San Helios...


I found the monsters to be somewhat a rip-off of Pitch Black's beasties, though nowhere near as terrifying or as cool. They might have been intriguing if it weren't for the fact that they were such and obvious copy of that film's plot - trapped on a desert planet, must escape before we get eaten by a merciless swarm of creatures - yep, definitely seen that one before, the Doctor even wears shades, though admittedly they weren't goggles. I did like the fact that they were a monstrous swarm, not an enemy the Doctor could defeat by talking, just mindless beasts - the wormhole concept was interesting if a little unbelievable. They did provide a good sense of peril, and the showdown with UNIT was cool, but I wasn't particularly bowled over.

'Stingray' is the code name given by UNIT to these deadly creatures, based on their resemblence to the Earth shark subspecies of the same name. They are a massive swarm of flying creatures that travel from world to world consuming all they come across, they engulf a planet swarming round and round it until all matter, organic or otherwise is consumed and only sand and waste remains. Their strength seems to be their sheer mass as they are susceptible to heavy weapons fire and vulnerable to coldness but in their large numbers few things can stand against them. As an additional defence any metal they consume is carefully digested and extruded to form a tough exoskeleton. Once all matter on a world is consumed they circle it repeatedly until their momentum and mass opens a wormhole to another world they can lay waste to. By this method the creatures arruived at and destroyed San Helios a bustling, cultured world and were about to breach Earth until the Doctor close their wormhole and redirected them to uninhabited worlds where they could keep living without destroying others.

I hope you've enjoyed this forray into the Doctor's world - more from their adventures when the next special 'Waters of Mars' airs.

Sunday, 10 May 2009


The New Wolverine film has created some new interest in perhaps my favourite comic character, Deadpool.
As many of you will know he displays his fourth-wall breaking abilities from time to time and provides the Marvel universe with some much needed humour. The fact that he is present in almost every major marvel event is also amusing, providing an integral comical side to some shocking events such as Secret Invasion.
(This is when the skrulls clone him to create an immortal army, which they then recruit him to train)

But the new film has caused some confusion regarding his origins. I'll kindly explain (albeit in a simpler fashion because Wade's got a convoluted past, like most superheroes)
Suffering from cancer, mercenary Wade Wilson volunteers in the Weapon X program as part of an experiment to transplant Wolverine's healing factor. This cures his cancer but makes him insane and horribly disfigured. Deemed a failure, he is sent to "The Workshop" to be experimented on. He escapes, kills people etc. Ala Wolverine.
His only power is the healing factor, though it could be argued his sense of humour is just as deadly. He also has the ability to produce weapons from seemingly thin air, claiming this process involves "a lot of lubricant".
Although a sadistic, comical character, Deadpool has been involved in some more serious story arcs, most notably "The Burnt Offering" of "Cable & Deadpool". This involves Cable's struggle to deal with his immense power, and his solution which involves his self sacrifice.
This is pretty much an excuse for another post, but there we go.
Although I do have some new news, a Deadpool spin-off has been confirmed. And judging by the way Deadpool breaks the fourth wall in the after-credits scene in Wolverine, we can only hope it will be as good as the comics.
Well, i'll leave you with one of the first confrontations between Wolverine and Deadpool.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

SF at the Movies, April 09 - and an apology.

Hello readers (wow, feels fun to say that an mean it...hopefully)

I must first of all apologise for the lack of content on this blog. My cohorts and I have all entered particularly busy and hectic stages of our work and academic years and so time for blogging is short, as it is for most other things. So the blog has been pretty quiet, and is set to remain so for the next few weeks at least. There have been a number of posts that I wanted to write but simply didn't have the time and again, this sorry state of affairs is going to carry on as far as I can tell for the near future and I apologise both now and in advance for the lack of content here.

In fact, our only solace is that now and again we manage to squeeze an hour or two to visit the cinema and bask in some Sci-Fi glory on a whopping screen. We're already in May, but most of April's movies will still be on release, so here's a look at what was out this month.

Monsters Vs Aliens

Released 02/04/09

One of the funniest films I have ever seen, I was crying laughing all the way through the trailer and I just had to see the film, which did not disappoint at all. For those who still may be confused, this film doesn not feature Xenomorphs at all, but rather a tentacled menace who challenges the best Earth has to offer - the best, that is, except a small team of monsters kept hidden away by the U.S. Government. The film makes a number of hilarious rip-offs of classic Sci-Fi films, but doesn't rely on them for it's comedy, being an original and hilarious piece - B.O.B. the indestructible, but also brianless, gelatic mass is particularly funny throughout. Well worth seeing.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Released 28/04/09

The next X-Men movie is easily one of the best as it looks into the beginnings of fan favourite character Wolverine and how he came to be the amnesiac metal clawed warrior we saw in the first X-Men flick. The film takes us on a whistle stop tour of Logan's life and the wars he fought in and the allies he made along the way. Then tragedy strikes as Logans love is killed by someone he trusted and all his allegiances and friendships come under question as he seeks revenge and answers, he finds both, but they drag him into a much bigger world than he would like. The film makes good use of small parts from other mutant comic heroes and even a few of
Wolverine's future associates make an appearance, but not wasted ones. Well that's probably already crossing the spoiler alert barrier so I'll stop there and just recommend that you give this movie a whirl.

Well this may be goodbye for a while - but keep an eye on the event horizon I'll be back soon I promise.

Oh, and so you know, this is the 150th post, at least we've hit a landmark eh?!