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Movies & endings

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 4 Sep 2017, 21:01

I went to see The Dark Tower last week, the film based on the Stephen King books.  I think this was a one off and it wasn’t a bad effort.  Although, I thought, Idris Elba was too young and fresh-looking for the role of The Gunslinger.  In the books Roland is ancient and has been around forever.  Also, it was all a bit too quick for my liking but I won’t complain too much about having to look at Matthew McConaghey, for an hour and a half, or Idris Elba for that matter!

The Dark Tower is a whole epic of 7 books originally (apparently 2 more have been added which I haven’t read) and were all very enjoyable, except for the ending.  If you haven’t read the series, then you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about now, but I’ll try not to give too much away in case they’re on your ‘to read’ list.  The problem I had with the ending, was the very same thing Stephen King referred to in Misery (great book, mediocre film), when Annie Wilkes pulls Paul Sheldon up for cheating with the story like they used to do in the old Saturday shows, when you were sure the hero had died going over the cliff in the locked, burning car, or some such, but by the next week he has somehow managed a miraculous escape.

The Dark Tower had one of those endings.  Roland had moved back in time and was leaving with the horn of Eld after the battle of Jericho Hill but that didn’t make sense to me.  I’m doing an Annie Wilkes now! He would have had to go back and re-fight the battle in order to win it and in my mind he would also have to go back to when he entered Hambry and save Susan Delgado.

I’ve read quite a few Stephen Kings, they are my pleasure in between the heavy stuff.  Misery is my favourite book, and my favourite film adaptation is Stand By Me.  The re-make of It, is out this week and if the trailers are anything to go by, then it’s something to look forward to.  I know a lot of people were disappointed by the ending in the movie first time around so I’m not sure how that’s going to be rectified but what works in fiction doesn’t necessarily work on screen.  Anyway, I won’t spoil it by giving away any details.  However, I will say that the endings of several of Stephen’s more recent novels were disappointing, Under the Dome was one and Joyland another, Revival too, was a bit of a let-down but my biggest disappointment this year, was not a book but a film, the final Planet of the Apes movie, War for Planet of the Apes.

Firstly, it wasn’t a ‘War’, it was a battle and not much of a battle either and from looking at the trailers beforehand; I was expecting WW3 with nukes.  Mind you, the way Donald and the Young ‘Un are squaring up, we could be headed for the real thing any day now!  I’m convinced Lil Kim, could make a case for an Ulster Scots grant with his name!

The big let-down, apart from the ‘war’, was all the emoting that was going on.  It was like an episode of Dr Phil!  Caesar was giving it all the dramatics of rage and burning anger, like an obstreperous teenager.  While Maurice, the big orangutan, was giving out so much deep and meaningful advice, I half expected him to be given his own talk show. 

Then, there were parts of the story that didn’t make sense either.  How did the soldiers manage to capture the other apes when Caesar was following them, and the other apes had been left behind??  Go figure??  The real pity is, the cgi was the best I’ve seen but like so many ‘epics’, too much thought given to the ‘show’ and not enough to the story.  Yes, James Cameron, I’m talking about your Avatar (great visuals, lazy, old, clichéd story) You think you would have learnt from the hash Lucas made with Star Wars!

Anyway, if the books and movies have been disappointing, at least music brings its own rewards and the God of Rock, himself, the one and only Mr Robert Plant, returns to the Ulster Hall in December!  And I will be there! 

The new Star Wars is out then too, lets hope that's 2 bright spots on the December horizon to look forward to.  May the force be with you or rock on!  Whatever, is your wont!


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Weddin

The Universe

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The universe is approximately 14 billion years old, give or take a couple of hundred thousand.  The Earth is estimated at 4.5 billion years old.  Man or a man-like creature is reckoned to be between 2.4 and 7 million years old and homo sapiens, from whom we’re descended (correct me if I’m wrong) have been around for about 200,000 years.  Not very long at all when measured against the age of the universe and according to physics, everything that is in the universe existed the moment it began.  So, we were at some point in the life of the universe, stardust.  Wonderful! 

‘Good morning starshine, the earth says hello’.  Pardon me, just having a little hippie moment there. 

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched way back in 1977 and it has taken the best part of 40 years to reach the edge of our planetary system and now they are zooming along somewhere in interstellar space at an impressive rate of 37,000 mph.  Even at that incredible speed, it is still going to take them 40,000 years to reach the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.  The vastness of the universe is beyond our comprehension and some planetary facts can be mind-blowing.  For instance, it takes Neptune 165 years to complete one orbit of the sun, amazing! But even more amazing is that even if Voyager reaches our nearest star, it would take it, (and this is incredible) 400,000,000 years to reach the other side of the Milky Way.  That is a distance beyond comprehension....and that is just one small galaxy in a universe of millions?????

 In 1990, when Voyager 1 was leaving our planetary system and heading into interstellar space, a distance of 3.7 billion miles, Nasa, on a suggestion from the writer Carl Sagan, turned Voyager around and took a picture of earth; ‘a pale blue dot’ Sagan called it. 

Carl Sagan wrote the great story, Contact, which was later made into a film with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaghey.  It is one of my favourites and I strongly recommend it, especially if you like sci-fi or even if you just like a good movie.

So, back to us - the life of a human being is averaged at 3 score and ten, 70 years,  if you’re lucky, and many never even come close to this life span.   When that is measured against the age of the universe, it really doesn’t amount to very much at all, a mere speck of dust, a fraction of a blink of an eye in the vastness of the cosmos. 

So, here we are with our paltry 70 years, on this tiny blue dot rolling around the sun and what do we do with it?  In this eye blink of a life, we waste so much of it.  We waste it fighting in wars, over land, religion, money, power; making ourselves and everybody else miserable and afraid; scrabbling around like rats trying to ‘make a living’ instead of actually living; bitching and whining about petty stupidities, like what other people have, what we don’t have, how someone looks, how someone lives...

 We sacrifice the only life we have (I think) obsessing on nonsense and tying ourselves down to the slavery of capitalism; wasting precious time appeasing the forces of society, family and our own misguided expectations.

We allow others to dictate how the world should be and let them do our thinking for us.  The two most destructive concepts man has created, money and religion, have systematically robbed us of the experience of joy in this short life of ours and have created the greatest miseries ever inflicted, not just the human race but on all other life forms on this ‘tiny blue dot’. 

Is this really the best we can do with our precious time?


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