Time Circuit Vortex

Image from Doctorwhocast.com

So yeah, I am clearly not the first one to pick up on this but still…Doctor Who and Bill & Ted; There seem to be some similarities here. Now I love both of these franchises. Bill & Ted were and still are two of my all time favourite films. Similarly I love everything about Doctor Who especially the fact that the super advanced multi-dimensional manipulation of time and space is summed up in the phrase ‘It’s bigger on the inside.’ Despite this I can still objectively appreciate how, once again, American cinema had descended on the twitching carcass of British television.

Now Doctor Who was a long running British sci-fi programme starting in 1963. In 1989 the series ended but in a strange conscience this is also the year Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure was released. It is clearly apparent that that someone in Hollywood had been watching the show having the ‘great’ idea of Americanising it once the British telling had begun to wane whilst still capitalising on the fanbase. Only Bill & Ted turned out to be nothing like Doctor Who, bar the obvious ‘travelling through time in a phone box’ thing. The premise of Doctor Who started as a near enough immortal alien exploring time and the cosmos with his inter-dimensional, shape changing space ship. Now the famous police box was first created because this alien wished to stay hidden and in that day and age (the 60’s) there was emergency blue police boxes on nearly every corner, thus a perfect way to blend in. Later, in order to keep the iconic box, it was written in that at some point the ships chameleon circuit was broken and it was stuck in that form. Conversely Bill & Ted have a Phone Booth for no overly apparent reason other then ‘it’s kinda cool’ and ‘Doctor Who did it.’ They could have easily made a time machine anything…Maybe a car (now where have I heard that before?) but they didn’t and I would be willing to wager the reason they didn’t is because the Doctor Who had that much of a cultural impact that it was worth building a film around in order to capitalise upon. There’s just one thing, though, I don’t think Hollywood expected Doctor Who to make a comeback, especially not in the overwhelming fashion that it has. Still, there doesn’t seem much fallout over the situation and I think that lies in the fact that the Bill & Ted films were made in 1989 and 1991 respectively. That’s at  least 5 years before any form of Who revival and over a whole decade before the massive kick start in 2005. As such I’m not surprised they’ve never gotten in each others way, B&T apparently managed to slip in at the start of the 25 year niche of Doctor Who absence, completely managing to avoid stepping on their toes. But now with speculative word of a potentially possible idea for a concept of Bill & Ted 3 (Yes, this is apparently happening! http://www.totalfilm.com/news/alex-winter-talks-bill-ted-3) we’ll just have to see how many more people begin to sit up and take notice of the elephant in the room similarities between the franchises.

For the record, though, I wish to state again that I LOVE Bill & Ted and have nothing against those who made it simply because it was done well. Unlike other Americanised products or adaptations like the horrid Red Dwarf remake…But that’s for another time. The point is that Bill & Ted took and idea and made it there own which, in their own ways, made it better than the original concept. I mean time travel, rock music and Keanu Reeves… To this day I don’t think you can get much cooler.

Anyway, I shall leave you with the all famous words of the duo spoken by the great vampire hun- I mean President himself…

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Documentary Evidence

-My name is Marty, I’m a long time collaborator of Nick. He recently invited me to write the odd article for his readership to fill in for those periods when he cannot possibly write anything other than his novels through fear of forgetting his latest stroke of genius.-

I have restarted a love affair that began in high school. Back then we were both just starting out, both impressionable and sure that we were able to accomplish anything.
And how can anything that feels that good be wrong?
If I am being honest our relationship weakened when I began to lose interest. The relationship was always there if I wanted to go back, but I had bigger fish to fry.
However, I have now rekindled the passion and it burns brighter than ever. Sure it takes me away from my partner a little more than she would like, but I think in her own way she understands why I have to fulfil my needs elsewhere.
Yes, as you have almost certainly guessed, I have once again begun watching documentaries. Only now we are both more mature and understand each others needs, I’m more open to experimentation, watching documentaries on Star Trek and Donkey Kong as well as the state of the economy.
The buffet is now so rich that an open minded critic can always take his fill.
But things have now spun a little out of control. I find myself thinking about these things when I’m a work. When I’m cleaning or exercising, I have Netflix open on my iPad and catch a bit of another documentary. When I log onto my computer I find myself in some dark corner of the Internet downloading yet another documentary outing some restricted information that someone apparently doesn’t want me to see.
Whilst I know I should just carry on watching The Simpsons, learning so little through one of the greatest forms of communication the mankind has succeeded in creating, I know I must follow my hearts desires. And right now the fires of my passion for these items are burning far to fiercely to be ignored.

Nerd Bait

As may have become apparent in my last post I will not spend an overly large amount of time writing here about my or anyone else’s literature. Rather, I will be focussing on topics that I would like to talk about or that just seem generally interesting to me and also hopefully those who endeavour to read this. Granted, a lot of these topics will revolve around what can be referred to as ‘Geek Culture’. On that note… Catchphrases.

 

Where would nerds be without catchphrases, memes and the frankly overwhelming amount of obligatory sayings that populate every facet of the standard geek lifestyle. With a vocabulary unto our own, the common geek is about as coherent to your average Joe as a Klingon is after a Romulan Ale binge. This last sentence in its self alone illustrates that there is a very valid point here. For years the geek community has drawn upon comics, television, games and even themselves to build an ever growing reference repertoire impenetrable to those on the outside. Why does this even exist in the first place? You may ask. The answer, as I see it, is two pronged.

Prong Uno: Geeks, Nerds and everyone else associated WANT to be impenetrable. After a lifetime of segregation and often persecution its something that is felt to identify the group as a whole. Geeks, in some way, want to be isolated because on some level they feel that’s what they should be. As such they build an insurmountable wall of pop culture references and Memes.

Not to put too much of a dampener on the situation we come to the likely more truthful Prong numero due: This mountain of so called ‘Nerd Bait’ exists for the simple fact that it is exactly that; ‘Nerd Bait’. No other, deeper, Freud like meaning. Certain things attract the mindset of a Geek, that magical place in the brain that rejoices at the thought of science and repulses from sport. That corner of ourselves that doesn’t want to bow down to convention and would just like to given the chance to enjoy what we want. That corner of our mouths that can’t help but smirk when anyone mentions anything regarding crowbars.

I feel, though, that there are much larger issues lurking beneath these muddy waters which can’t as easily be put down by a few well placed boomerangs. No, this is something that could take years of research into the very meaning of what it means to be a geek. Still, why not attempt this in a mere paragraph? After all, this is why we are here is it not…Because the writer has ADHD and needs to cook dinner…

What makes meme? A catchphrase worth repeating? Lets take two examples, shall we? 1.21 ‘Jigga’watts as coined by Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future and ‘Geronimo!’ as said by our good friend the 11th Doctor of, well, Doctor Who of course. 1.21 Jiggas was never supposed to be a catchphrase, merely a line augmented by Lloyd himself to honour the way a certain scientist (Who’s name presently escapes me) had said it and to give a bit more flare to the film. In comparison ‘Geronimo’ WAS supposed to be a catchphrase and never seemed to make it to such status (Let’s be honest, it bombed). Now I think this is the key root to what makes a good catchphrase, one that isn’t supposed to be noticed as such but makes enough impact on the viewer. Apparently this is done by being bold, funny, random or simply out of place or surreal enough while maintaining presence within context to get noticed. Another point to take account of is that the catchphrase/meme has to apply to other circumstances. Some you can just scream in response to just about anything, example; “I can paint!” “I used to paint…Then I took an arrow to the knee” “o.O”

Well, you get the idea…

Getting through the day

So The Avengers…

On a scale of 1 to superawsome, how good was it…I’d go somewhere in the range of 78 million. Yes, we’re getting into that time of summer blockbusters again and with the masterpiece of cinematography The Avengers landing squarely in the part of my brain that makes my grin uncontrollably while walking down the street I think we’re off to a pretty good start. It’s not just the fact that the characters are relevant, the action scenes are amazing, Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic as always and Mark Ruffalo is actually really good as Bruce Banner…Well it’s all those things. It is also that fact that FINALLY we have a modern franchise that genuinely cares if its viewers like the films or not, why the hell else would they have gotten Geek God Joss Whedon on board if it didn’t. With the build up the film had they could have easily made some two bit shed of a film, kept the $100+ million change and still got a crazy return. It has already broken the £1 billion mark after all, that’s over a third of what Avatar managed. I mean it can’t be a long term marketing ploy so they can make the next set of Avengers based films naff.  Just look at the Transformers franchise for an example, Michael Bay has announced Transformers 4 (Which, by the way, he said he would work on originally), yet another sequel to a series most people agree is pretty bad all over (LaBeouf, I blame you!) but has still grossed over $2.5 billion. Still, I am not a film reviewer despite my tendencies to ramble on about these things. The point is that that main thing I am pleased with is that time and effort has been taken to make something REALLY good here but should that be everyone’s approach to everything? I’m a writer and I try to make the best of what I can, whether I have or not is everyone’s own opinion but it was never done half heartedly because I have always been on the mind that everyone needs things to enjoy. Stuff to get them through the day. Life is hard and boring and sad and we all need things to look forward to, to make us happy and it is such a disappointment when that film or game or album you’ve been looking forward to for the past three months turns out to be a real let down. Hell, I imagine that’s why I’ve kept writing for all this time. Too tired and disappointed with everything big studios pump out constantly I resort to writing my own stories to enjoy. The bottom line, though, is that everyone should be encouraged to create what they love and love what they, and by extension, other people create because what is formed from the mind of a single person has to be generally better that that of a 17 person committee of tweed jackets. At the very least it has to be more focused…

Well, that’s enough from me for now, I must be productive after all… *moseys on over to the fridge*

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