Thursday, June 11, 2009

Robot Love

Last night I did it again. The moment Anette said she would stay home with the kids so I could go out, I scuttled over to the English language cinema to pay good Euros for a fine American film. No, wait, actually it was Terminator Salvation.

Why am I like this? I've loved science fiction movies since I was in short pants. Lately I've even been reading it, in an anthology of classic sci-fi short stories by Robert Heinlein, Jack Williamson and others. (It's pretty fun, though, of course, goofy.)

Terminator Salvation was about what one might expect from a director who started out directing the music videos of Smashmouth. Long on looks, short on logic and totally unreliant on stuff like dramatic tension or good ideas. I did like the noises that the really big robots made when they was squashing peoples, though.

Science fiction doesn't seem to have changed much since the stories I'm reading from the nineteen-forties. It's still primarily concerned with stories about what it means to be human. I mean, I know Terminator Salvation isn't exactly the cutting edge of the form, and I know some authors deal with subjects besides robots. But apparently it's still acceptable to have a hero rage at the heavens, "They want us to be machines! But men aren't machines!"

It just seemed fresher a hundred and fify years ago when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.

1 comment:

Ed Ward said...

Hey, it's Robbie the Robot! Which just leads me to wonder why nobody's thought to remake Forbidden Planet, in wihch, you'll remember (won't you?) Robbie was a major player. Do you suppose it's because nobody remembers what an Id is?