Friday, March 14, 2008

A month of Sci-Fi

Those that know me will tell you that I am a sci-fi nut. And I have to get a fix every once and a while. Whether that’s in the form of a new book or the latest movie I manage to stay in touch with this genre. My battle with getting SF books was mentioned in this post. I am happy to report that I have not stepped into a bookstore since.

Movies on the other hand have been troublesome. I have cable but with my busy schedule it’s really hard to catch good SF flick when they’re on (usually late at night when you have to go to sleep). I first mentioned Radio City in this post they do a good job of providing quality DVDs. But the thing is that they always play it safe. They stick to new releases and academy award winning/nominated movies. Sure they have grade A material but what is a nutcase like me suppose to do?

SF fans tend to stay away from mainstream entertainment the more obscure the better. Where can I get three year old movies that I have heard about but couldn’t watch? Radio City fell short of this requirement so I was forced to venture out of my comfort zone to get my movie fix. That could only mean that I would have to visit…wait for it…Saddar. I first mentioned how chaotic this place can be in the virtual tour of Karachi. But at times like these this place is a necessary evil, so I bit the bullet and took the plunge.

The best place to get CDs of any kind be it MP3s, Audio CDs, VCDs, DVDs, Play Station Games, Software etc. etc. is Rainbow Center. Don’t tell Microsoft but all CDs at this place are pirated. The first floor has stalls run by a crazed group of paan spitting egotistical brutes. Even though you know where you’re going and you know what you want these guys will yell at you to come visit their stall because they’ve got what you need. They can get so pushy that they try to physically grab you. At this point my days from living in Queens kick in

“Shut the hell up!” I tell them, they look at me with blank stares and ask

Kia keyra hai?” (what are you saying? [in an informal sense]) of course I am long gone by then.

The top floor has decent stores with a wide collection. The shopkeepers upstairs know that they have the goods and people will come to them. I take my time strolling through the aisles until I finally find what I am looking for “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe”. I can’t describe how happy I was to finally find this movie. It felt like taking in a breath of fresh air. But that’s just the beginning I also found “AI” by Steven Spielberg, “The fifth element” with Bruce Willis and “Beowulf”. This place also had the first season of Voltron the entire Star Trek Voyager series, Knight Rider, The A-Team the list goes on and on!

I bought all four long sought movies at Rs. 50 or 75 cents a pop! Yes I know I am supporting piracy and I am stealing a movie and what not. If you have an alternative let me know because I can’t think of one. Anyhow I plan on watching all four movies over the course of a month. I’ll review each one once I am done with it.

REVIEW 1: So far I’ve watched “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe”. I read the book and for the most part the movie follows along. The opening scene with the singing dolphins was a bit of a turn off but the following narrative was very engaging and drew me in. I got the same whimsical feel from watching the movie as I did from reading the book. My mom watched some of it and she doesn’t even like SF! The movie ends at a cliffhanger making you wonder what happens next. I can’t wait until a sequel comes out, not that I am helping out by buying pirated movies :( *slaps self on wrist*

REVIEW 2: Just finished up “AI”. Overall I found it to be a thought-provoking movie. It tackled age-old questions such as the meaning of life, the definition of love and what it means to be human. A familiar SF staple that was called upon was using a sophisticated automaton that is trying to become more human. In this case the sentient being wanted to become a real boy. I found the references made to Pinocchio particularly intriguing. The only complaint that I have was that it was a bit long. They could have cut some corners in the beginning of the movie and gotten to the adventure quicker.

REVIEW 3: I finished watching the fifth element. I have to say I was kinda put off by the kooky look of the characters. I thought this was going to be some kind of kiddy movie. However it turns out the story is well thought out and is very engaging. Of course the plot threads becomes a bit complex. Like when every one goes after the stones I had a lot of "But I thought they were friends?!" moments. Since this movies been released for ages most of you already know this, but you know what they say old is gold.

Stay tuned for more reviews…

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Wil Wheaton says, "It's Pi day!"
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