Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Darth Spencers Year In Nerdness 2006

Stardate 01-01-07

So I sat down and tried to think of all the nerdy things that I did over the last year. Though I know that I can't possibly think of everything, I did come up with a fairly good sized list. I must say that I am a little dissapointed in myself. It seems like there is a lot more that that I can do in order to more fully engulf myelf in all things nerd. It will be my new years resolution to try to be even more nerdy in 2007. I know that Allison will be pleased. The following is a list of items and a thought or two about each of them. They were not necessarily released in '06.

X3- better then the first, not even close to the second.
Superman Returns- boring. how many times do we have to see something falling and him swooping down to save the day.
V for Vendetta- Remember remember the 5th of November. I learned that terrorism is ok, as long as its against a Totalitarian Govt. Totally awesome.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galexy- Very funny. Can't wait to read the book.
Lady in the Water- about the importance in believing in stories. Excellent.
Original Star Wars on DVD- finally. All looks amazing except for when they replaced old Anakin with new Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi.
The Prestige- Visually amazing. Great story and great movie.

Audio Book
Eragon- narration is a little cheesy, but the story is awesome. I want to be a Dragon Rider.
Eldest- narration is still cheesy and it starts a little slow for those of us who are not completely interested in Elf etiquite. The ending will blow you away.
Across the Nightengale Floor- This is one that most of you probably have never heard of so I will take a little more time on it. This is a four book series about and ancient tribe of Samuri Assasins who have mystical powers. The nightengale floor refers to a specail floor constructed of wood that creeks at the slightest touch. Its purpose is to let those who are sleeping know that an assasin is sneaking in to kill them in their sleep. I enjoyed this download very much and plan on reading the other three.
Snow Crash- my first venture into the Cyber Punk genre. It totally sucked and I could not even come close to finishing it. I will give cyber punk one more chance when I read Neuromancer.
The Prestige- a good listen, but much different from the movie. For me the movie was so much better because you actually get to see the magic.

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire- My first ventrue into the Star Wars expanded Universe. I loved it. I can't wait to read the other two in the series.
Boys Life- a murder mystery about a boy and his father who witnesses a murder. the book is full of mystical happenings. Pretty good, but not great.
The Handmaid's Tale- Precious free time wasted that could have been spent reading a book written by a male. I wont make that mistake again.
The Third Policeman- a book referenced by the TV series Lost. This book is pretty funny, but very wierd. After commiting a murder, the main character gets lost in land where people become bicycles.
Watchmen- probably my favorite thing that I read all year. This is a comic book written by Alan Moore. This thing has influenced just about everyone, including Joss Whedon, JJ Abrams, Paul Greengrass, and the list goes on. Its a comic book about what super heros do after they retire. They are forced into retirement by the goverment. Some of the events take place around a secret lost island. There are many influences from the comic book in the TV show Lost.

TV and TV on DVD
Heros- my favorite new show this season. Mutations in DNA causes changes in the body that bring on super powers. Its pretty much the same as X-Men, but the cool thing about this show is seeing how the charaters have first gained their powers and are learning to use them.
Lost- the end of season two was great. The start of season three has been crappy. I still have hope.
Battlestar Galactica- the best show on TV. Hot cylon babes, great special effects, fast paced action, drama, religion, great story telling and violence. Can't beat that combo.
Firefly- not as good as I had hoped, but very original and entertaining. Great characters and music.
Roswell Season 2- How do you make shows like the OC and Dawsons Creek even better? you set them up in Roswel, New Mexico and add aliens to the mix.
Freaks and Geeks- my favorite new old show. I want to own this one on DVD. Too bad it only lasted one season.

Please let me know if there is anything nerdy that I missed in '06 so I can add it to my list of items to partiake of in '07.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Firefly on DVD

Stardate 12-20-06

I recently finished watching Firefly, the complete series on DVD and I must say that I have mixed feelings about the widely acclaimed series. There were so many things about it that I just loved that were very original and clever, but at the same time, I can sort of see why Fox cancelled it. Here is a little back story.

The story takes place in a post apocalyptic era where the United State and China were the only two remaining super powers. The two societies and cultures combined to form one super power called, The Alliance. Because of this, everyone speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese. The Alliance's territory expands from the Core, which is the center of the galaxy, all the way to the Outer Rim. Because of the wide spread corruption of the Alliance, there has been a Civil War. The independents fought against the Alliance and lost; most survivors have scattered to the Outer Rim. The captain of the Firefly and his first mate both fought in the Civil War against the evil Alliance.

One of the interesting things about Firefly is that the Vulcans have not yet made First Contact with the Humans. There are no alien bad guys or good guys in the show. In fact, there is zero focus on the discovery of alien life. Instead, the idea of exploration is more like the idea of a western and the taming of the wild wild west. This is what makes Firefly so unique and original. It is a clever mix of the Science Fiction and Western genres. They dress like cowboys, they carry guns in holsters that still shoot bullets, they drive cattle from one planet to another, and every once in a while, the visit whores.

For those of you who don't know, the Fox Oligarchy cancelled Firefly after airing just 11 of the 14 episodes. They didn't even make it a full season. The People of the Abyss raised their fist to resist. Their outcry of love for the show was enough to bring the story to the big screen and finish the story. Like so many others, I have come to the conclusion that the network screwed this show. But I cannot put the full blame on the network. What we saw on TV just moved too slow.

After watching the series, movie and some special features on the DVD's, it is clear to see that from the start, the creators of the show and the network wanted two different things. The creators wanted a character driven epic, the network wanted action. The result is an uncomfortable blend of both parties trying to please each other. While watching, I kept thinking to myself, "this is so slow" or "nothing is happening here" I soon realized that the creators were thinking long term. They were setting up a story line that would carry the show for four or five seasons and all we got, were 14 episodes; three or four of which were totally awesome, the others however, seemed like slow filler episodes.

I would recommend Firefly and Serentity to all interested in both sci-fi and westerns. The music track for the show is excellent, and the special effects are amazing. One cool thing that I read about the special effects is that the CGI team who created them decided to make shots of seem as if they were being shot by hand, and not a stabilized camera. The result looks really cool. Another cool thing is that the special effects team for Firefly got hired for Battlestar Galactica after Firefly was cancelled. There is a brief homage to Firefly during the Cylon invasion of Caprica. Supposedly you can see a shot of Firefly flying away just before the Cylons attack.

I cannot however say that Firefly is one of the best sci-fi/fantasy TV shows of all time. It wasn't around long enough to make that statement. Its great...but not amazing.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Son of the Suns

Stardate 12-03-06

Some insightful comments from my last post, plus my own curiosity has caused me to research the Jedi Chosen One and Sith'ari prophecies a bit further. I found that there isn't much out there on the subject, but what is out there is pretty interesting, and I wish that Lucas would have expounded a bit further on some of these ideas.

It seems pretty clear that the first mention of a chosen one or a prophesy of some type came from Lucas' original script for Episode IV, where it references The Son of the Suns. Here is the reference,

"...And in the time of greatest
despair there shall come a savior,
and he shall be known as: THE SON
Journal of the Whills, 3:127

There is no explanation given about this prophecy, but it appears to be from some sort of scripture from Yoda's people, the Whills. Some ideas that I have read from blogs that others have written is that it refers to either Anakin or Luke Skywalker. Some think that Son of Suns could be a reference to Tatooine because it is a planet that has two suns. My initial thought was of Anakin and his miraculous conception. He, being the "Son," and those who helped create him being the "Suns." I think that the sun could be a metaphor for the Jedi and the light side of the force. My idea does not seem to mesh well with what we know from Episode III, where Anakin learns of Darth Plagueis the Wise and his abilities to create life from manipulation of the midichlorians. I thought for sure when I saw Episode III that Anakin would connect the dots and realize that perhaps he was created by a Dark Sith. Maybe he didn't know where or how he came into existence? Here is what Lucas has to say on the subject,

"Now there's a hint in the movie that there was a Sith Lord who had the power to create life. But it's left unsaid: Is Anakin a product of a super-Sith who influenced the midi-chlorians to create him, or is he simply created by the midi-chlorians to bring forth a prophecy, or was he created by the Force through the midi-chlorians? It's left up to the audience to decide." -George Lucas, Rolling Stone, June 2005

Hopefully, Lucas will answer this question in the future.

Another question that we need to ask is; Are the prophecies of the Jedi Chosen One and the Sith'ari the same, or do they refer to two seperate people?

Here is what I have found about the Sith'ari:
Sith'ari was a title that, in the ancient Sith language, meant "Lord" or "Overlord." Sometime during the early history of the First Sith Empire, the coming of the Sith'ari, an exemplar of the Sith ideal, was foretold. Inspired by the legend of Adas, the Sith'ari was prophesied a perfect being—the ultimate Sith—free of all restrictions who would rise to power to lead the Sith and, according to the legend, destroy them—yet, through their destruction, make them stronger than ever. Here is the exact quote, "One who has freed themselves from all restrictions has reached perfection, their potential fulfilled. Perfect strength, perfect power, perfect destiny. Imagine it." --Yathura Ban

So, in order for the prophesy to come true, the Sith'ari must be: 1) Perfect, the ultimate Sith, 2) free of all restrictions so that they may rise and lead the Sith, 3) then destroy the Sith, 4) through their destruction, make them stronger.

Now lets look at what is said about the Jedi Chosen One, which is even less:
In Episode I, reference is made to the Chosen One, a prophecy of a person who is "to bring balance to the Force". Despite fan confusion over the definition of "balance", Lucas affirms that the Dark Side represents imbalance. So, Cblakes was correct when he said that he always believed that the phrase "balance to the force" meant that good would prevail over evil. Meaning that I was incorrect in my last blog to state that Darth Vader brought balance to the Force after he killed all the Jedi, leaving just himself, Darth Sidious, Obi-Wan, and Yoda alive. One last thing that we can intuit from Episode I about the Chosen One is that he must be conceived by the midichlorians. We learn this when Qui-Gon first speaks of Anakin to the Council of the Jedi, he states that he has found a boy who has, "the cells of the highest midichlorian I have ever seen in a life form. It is possible he was conceived by the midichlorians." Mace Windu quickly replies, "You refer to the prophesy of the One who will bring balance to the force. You believe its this--boy?

Because of this we know that if the Chosen One and the Sith'ari are the same, that it cannot be Luke Skywalker because Luke was not conceived by the midichlorians, he never rose to lead the Sith, and he did not destroy them. He helped, but it was Vader who ultimately destroyed Darth Sidious. Anakin comes much closer to fulfilling both prophecies. He was born of a virgin mother, possibly being created by the midichlorians, he has the highest ever midichlorian count-making him the most perfect, he rose to lead the Sith, and then destroyed them. After Vader killed Darth Sidious and returned to the light side of the Force, he successfully brought balance to the force.

It appears that Anakin is the Sith'ari and the Chosen One, but I still have some questions. The Sith'ari is supposed to rise and lead the Sith. According to the rule of two, there can only be two Sith, master and apprentice. Vader was the apprentice and Sidious was the master. Also, the Sith'ari is supposed to bring more power to the Sith through their destruction. I cannot see how Vader brought more power to the Sith by destroying them. Perhaps that is something that we will understand if Lucas ever does Episodes VII-IX.

Even though some of my questions have not been answered, I believe that the Sith'ari and Chosen One are one in the same. I believe that Anakin is the Chosen One and the Sith'ari.

What do you think?