4/28/11

And no dream is ever just a dream


Above: Kubrick then (1949) and later (2001, i.e. 1968). Below: Kubrick then (1949) and later (The Shining, 1980) A portfolio of the director's work as a photographer here.


4/25/11

Your whole life is just a dream

A series of measurements with ground-penetrating radar mounted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed a massive deposit of frozen carbon dioxide (CO2) — a Lake Superior's worth of dry ice — buried under a layer of ordinary ice near the Martian south pole. "We knew there was some CO2 at the pole," says Roger Phillips of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., lead author of a report on the discovery in the current issue of Science, "but there's about 30 times more than we thought.

And there's evidence from a number of Mars probes that the planet's atmospheric pressure has increased, even over the short time that we've been visiting. It's barely at the detectable level, says Phillips, "but it could be that we're seeing this effect."

All signs, in other words, point to the fact that Mars' atmosphere could be bulking up even now. Within a few tens of thousands of years, space colonists could be drawing water from Martian ponds — even as they're choking on Martian dust.
Get your ass to Mars.
"People cannot put their finger anymore on what is real and what is not real," observes Paul Verhoeven, the one-time Dutch mathematician who directed Total Recall. "What we find in Dick is an absence of truth and an ambiguous interpretation of reality. Dreams that turn out to be reality, reality that turns out to be a dream. This can only sell when people recognize it, and they can only recognize it when they see it in their own lives."
(From Wired.) Total Recall was co-written by Ronald Shusett and Dan O'Bannon. O'Bannon, who passed away in 2009, suffered painfully from Crohn's disease: among his inventions were the Mars rebellion leader Kuato, who grows from a man's stomach, and the chest burster in Alien.

In 1997 O'Bannon discussed the development of the movie Alien to Martin Anderson of Den Of Geek:
... In the movie, the Earth men discover a wrecked, derelict spacecraft. Actually no, that's not correct. In the movie, the men discover a wrecked construction of non-human manufacture and inside of it they find eggs of the monster. In the original script the men find a crashed derelict spacecraft and they enter it; they discover that the alien crew are all dead. They return to their own ship to contemplate what may have killed the alien crew and then they discover a pyramid on the planet which appears to be indigenous and primitive. They enter the pyramid and there they find the eggs. They combined these two elements, they squeezes them together into one sort of uneasy entity.

FF: The idea behind that, I would assume that the dangerous aliens were coming back to spawn or something?

O' Bannon: No, they were two different races. In my script, it was a space going race that landed on the planet and had been wiped out by whatever was there. And now the Earth men come and they endanger themselves in the same way. In the new version it's just sort of a surrealist mystery.

FF: And what ever they find there in the alien construct is the alien menace?

O' Bannon: Yes. So they combined, and they did dome things...and there were some changes that were better. There were some improvements made.

FF: In what direction?

O' Bannon: I think they made some of the characters cuter than they were. Some of the dialogue is definitely snappier than it was in the original draft. I think a lot of the designs that Ridley supervised differed because his visual hand is very strong over the surface of the picture. I think may things like that changed. You asked if it was my film. And i said no. And you said, can you name one of the things that disturbs you, well not every way in which it is different disturbs me.

FF: A lot of them okay?

O' Bannon: Ridley has this lavish, sensual visual style; and I think that Ridley is one of the 'good guys.' I really think that he is – was the final pivot point responsible for the picture coming out good. And so a lot of the visual design and a lot of the mood elements inherent in the camerawork, while they're not what i planned, are great. They're just different. Also, it's not 100% Ridley either. It's Ridley superimposing his vision over the cumulative vision of others, you see. Now this could be such a strong director's picture because Ridley's directorial and visual hand is so strong. There will probably be tendency among critics to refer to it as Ridley Scott's vision of the future. And he did have a vision of the future. But it was everybody else that came before, that's what his vision is.
Ridley Scott's Alien prequel / remake is Prometheus.