Happy Anniversary Doctor Who! 10 Years Of New Doctor Who

It’s hard to believe it’s already been ten years since the good Doctor came back to us. The new take on Doctor Who undeniably refreshed the franchise and grew its popularity. And it all started ten years ago when an average Jane named Rose met up with a most unusual fellow while out and about minding her own business in London.

Sci-Fi Jubilee

Happy Anniversary Doctor Who! 10 Years Of New Doctor Who

New Who 10 Years!

Happy Anniversary Doctor Who! Its been 10 years since the New Doctor Who series began and returned to BBC One Ten Years ago today in 2005! We’ve had a decade of brand new adventures in time and space, and its been the trip of a lifetime! I’ve really enjoyed watching the new series, writing this blog about the episodes, and chatting to so many awesome people on Twitter about Doctor Who. Its been great fun! Happy 10th Anniversary New Doctor Who!

To celebrate ten years since the arrival of the Ninth Doctor on our screens, here’s the fantastic TV trailer for the 2005 return of Doctor Who.

And I thought you might like this great fan trailer celebrating a decade of new Dr Who!

10 Year New DW

Its been ten years since the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccelston) and Rose Tyler’s (Billie Piper) adventures began when Doctor Who…

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Top Ten Space Exploration Films

10 destination moonScience fiction has been noted for its many subgenres, one of the most popular that of exploring space. And why not? Space as Captain Kirk once famously said, is the final frontier. It represents the unknown and humanity’s quest to push beyond the horizon has captivated us for ages, it’s part of our driving force. Exploring space is dealing with the true unknown which is both frightening and enthralling. These sci-fi films dealing with the space exploration theme are the best ones ever made.

10. Destination Moon: One of legendary filmmaker George Pal’s earliest films attempts to portray a credible scenario of how mankind would land on the moon. Even though the film got many aspects of a moon landing incorrect, it still conveys a sense of danger and adventure.

9. The Black Hole: First of all, The Black Hole 9 black holeis wildly scientifically inaccurate, but it’s very entertaining. A deep-space exploration crew comes across a black hole and a presumed-lost starship orbiting it. Onboard that ship they meet an insane scientist who wants to go into the black hole. Amidst all the laser firefights with robots the film touches upon metaphysical concepts with its final scenes.

8 first men in the moon

8. First Men in the Moon: Ray Harryhausen, famous for his fantasy creations, actually produced and did the effects for this adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic tale of British explorers landing on the moon at the turn of the century. Imaginative and thrilling, it is also a rare, early example of the steampunk genre on film.

stargate portal

7. Stargate: Before the long-running TV series and its spinoffs there was the original film that spawned them. Stargate had the novel approach of an expeditionary force using a wormhole-creating machine to travel to another planet in another galaxy. Borrowing elements from Chariots of the Gods? with its ancient astronauts angle, the film was a rousing adventure.

6 20106. 2010: This sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey suffers solely because of unfair comparisons to the original classic. Director Peter Hyams wisely chose not to copy the style of the original film and instead used 2010 (adapted from Arthur C. Clarke’s book) to explain what happened in the original and move the story further. By going in another direction, 2010 is a grittier, more grounded film that feels scientifically accurate and plausible. This underrated gem is a true sequel.

contact 3

5. Contact: This Robert Zemeckis film adapts Carl Sagan’s novel about what would happen if we received an extraterrestrial radio signal. The full socio-political ramifications are presented when humanity learns that we are not alone and it leads up to the building of a machine (based on alien-sent instructions) for an unknown purpose. Jodi Foster does some of her best acting as a scientist who uses the machine to ultimately travel through a wormhole and initiate first contact with alien life.

4. Europa Report: A surprisingly effective found-4 europa reportfootage film documents the last days of a doomed manned expedition to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Six astronauts embark on a journey to Europa to find signs of life. A series of technical mishaps and hazards impede the mission, but the brave crew refuse to be deterred and carry on even in the face of death. Europa Report is unexpectedly captivating since the archival footage of the astronauts’ transmissions create a feeling of intimacy and immediacy.

3 20013. 2001: A Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece not only rewrote how sci-fi films are made but how they are perceived by the general public. From our distant prehistoric past to the then-future, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a genuine tour de force. Astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) leads a mission to Jupiter to investigate an alien monolith there. What he ultimately discovers set the standard for mind-blowing and abstract concepts and imagery that still holds up today, though many critics point out the film’s dull pace and cold nature.


2. Interstellar: In many ways, Interstellar is a spiritual, more emotional cousin to 2001: A Space Odyssey thanks to superb visuals and its adherence to scientific accuracy. Christopher Nolan’s film about a team of astronauts using a wormhole to find a new world for colonization explores cutting edge scientific theories with mind-bending results. However, as fanciful as Interstellar gets with weird physics, the film is sincerely heartfelt as it examines notion that compassion and love are the greatest driving forces in the universe in the face of the harshness of space.

forbidden planet 2

1. Forbidden Planet: A space age retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Forbidden Planet is one of the best sci-fi films ever made and one can see how it influenced Star Trek. In the 23rd century a starship crew journeys to Altair IV to forbidden planet 3investigate an earlier expedition sent to that planet. What they discover is a long-dead alien city and two remaining human survivors from the expedition, Dr. Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his daughter Altaira (Anne Francis). The crew’s investigation of the Altair IV and the advanced lost civilization soon becomes threatened by an unleashed evil entity. The core of Forbidden Planet was the exploration of the alien civilization and its surrounding mystery. Adding to its virtue is the film’s callback to pulpy, adventurous sci-fi tales and excellent production values.

Lewis T. Grove



The Star Wars Films Ranked


star wars collage

2015 is shaping up to be the year of Star Wars with the continuation of the celebrated sci-fi saga in December with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Episode VII in the story. Here is a ranking of the previous six live-action films that came before and made movie history in order of personal preference.

darth and luke

1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Commonly considered as the best Star Wars film and in this instance, I agree with that sentiment. The reasons why are varied. It is a film that really explores the mystical side of the Star Wars universe with Jedi Master Yoda instructing Luke Skywalker all about the Force and the consequences of turning to the dark side. It is also a film that does not follow the traditional structure of an adventure film unlike the previous entry. Supporting this is the climatic battle between the Empire and Rebels, which occurs in the first half of the movie. Our heroes are put in constant jeopardy and there is no real resolution on the fate of Han Solo, setting up a cliffhanger ending that is almost jarring in its abruptness.

This was a risky move by George Lucas, since he could have just remade the original film and be done with it, but instead The Empire Strikes Back is an actual second part of an ongoing story and is very well done. It also introduces iconic characters like the aforementioned Yoda, and fan favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett. Plus, there is a wonderfully done lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader that results (SPOILER!) in the shocking revelation by Vader that he is Luke’s father. Combine that with the epic battle of Hoth with snow speeders and AT- AT walkers and this film is a classic in every way.

luke ben

2. A New Hope (1977): The movie that changed everything. What more can be said about the original Star Wars? It tells the classic tale of good and evil. It is a fairy tale that is set in outer space and introduced to the world Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, R2D2 and C-3PO, plus incredible worlds like Tatooine and Yavin with exotic aliens and robots.

Even if someone has never seen it, they know who all of these characters are and how they look like. That is when you know it has crossed from pop culture to something else. I think the simplicity of the tale of the Rebels fighting against an oppressive Galactic Empire with classic archetype character (hero, rogue, princess, wizard, villain, and comical sidekicks) is its biggest strength and the core of its widespread appeal. Iconic fixtures of the saga like the now-famous X-Wings, TIE fighters, lightsabers and the Jedi all started with this film.

revenge of sith

3. Revenge of the Sith (2005): The best of the prequels, this film is George Lucas’ swan song and one of his best. It begins with a bang hurling viewers into the middle of a great space battle over the gleaming capital planet Coruscant. From there, the story does not let up with the prequel’s heroic Jedi, Anakin Skywalker beginning his descent to the dark side, which culminated in an epic lightsaber duel (one of the best of the whole saga) against his mentor and friend Obi-Wan Kenobi. This was something fans had been waiting to see for years ever since it was revealed that Vader and Kenobi were friends.

Unfortunately, this movie is sometimes attacked since it is a prequel, and there are hardcore original trilogy fans who want nothing to do with them. But despite that, this movie is excellent and belongs with the first two as great Star Wars films. Highlights include showing the widespread destruction of the Clone Wars, Anakin’s cruel actions at the Jedi council, him murdering his wife Padme, and the bringing of the whole saga full circle in the end with infant Luke being brought to Tatooine. These are all of the movie’s major strengths.

attack of the clones

4. Attack of the Clones (2002): The second of the prequels, this film improves on what was begun in The Phantom Menace. Anakin is shown as a troubled, if somewhat whiny apprentice to Obi-Wan. The film presents the murky beginnings of the infamous stormtroopers with Sith Lord Count Dooku’s shady dealings, and Anakin’s slow turn to evil under Chancellor Palpatine’s sinister influence. Something I like about this movie is its look: the clouds on the capital planet Coruscant in the film’s beginning, the underworld club scene, and the waterworld of Kamino are all striking to look at. The epic ground battle on Geonosis during the film’s climax is also a big highlight along with Yoda’s subsequent lightsaber duel with Dooku.

A problem the film has is the clunky romance between Anakin and Padme Amidala.  It is not done well and is somewhat of a drag thanks to wooden dialogue. Despite that, the movie is still a good effort by George Lucas.

end of return of jedi

5. Return of the Jedi (1983): As the last film in the original trilogy, it may not be as good as the first two movies, but is still a good Star Wars adventure. The fantastic Battle of Endor is still the best space battle ever seen more than 30 years later. Luke’s final clash with his father Darth Vader is also one of the best moments in the saga.

An issue with the movie is the fact that the plot is somewhat of a repeat of A New Hope with its start on Tatooine and having another Death Star to destroy. Another is that the cuddly Ewok characters somehow and unbelievably make Imperial stormtroopers seem like the Keystone Cops.  However, Return of the Jedi Is still lots of fun and the final celebration with our heroes is always great to see.

maul vs jedi

6. The Phantom Menace (1999): Let’s be blunt, the first prequel, chronologically the first part of the saga, is the most polarizing Star Wars film by far.

This movie had huge expectations coming in after a very long wait since Return of the Jedi and many fans were not happy with it. They complained about Lucas’ rusty directing, over-reliance on CG, and the film’s pace. I myself like this flick and while it does have some problems, namely the somewhat childish humor with Jar Jar Binks and the slow middle portion on Coruscant, there are many things about it that I really enjoy. Just seeing old Ben Kenobi as a young Jedi cutting up battle droids was a big thrill. The multiple battles on Naboo in the end and the appearance of Darth Maul (one of Star Wars’ best villains) are all highlights and bring back good memories.

We’ll find out this December if The Force Awakens will also generate memorable viewing moments and where it ranks with the other films.

C.S. Link

Chappie Displays Heart Despite Its Harshness

chappie poster

Director Neill Blomkamp’s latest film Chappie is engaging and emotive as it evokes other movies about robots like WALL-E.

Chappie is based on Blomkamp’s 2004 short film Tetra Vaal and stars Sharlto Copley, who voices the eponymous character and does motion capture for Chappie as well. It takes place in Johannesburg in the near future and robots have replaced humans as the city’s police force. These humanoid robots are built by a weapons company and are the brainchild of Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), a young genius engineer who is trying to create a true artificial intelligence. His success rubs his engineering rival, Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman), the wrong way. That is because Moore’s own robotic enforcer, the MOOSE, has been rejected by the company’s CEO (Sigourney Weaver), since the Wilson-designed robots are highly effective.


Despite his success, Wilson is unable to get approval to develop his AI program and he decides to continue working independently using a deactivated robot that is due for the scrap heap. Concurrent to this storyline, the film showcases the downtrodden lives of a trio of gangsters (Yo-Landi Visser, Watkin Tudor Jones and José Pablo Cantillo), who have to pull off high-paying heists to pay off their debts. They concoct a plan to kidnap Wilson so they can get him a way to deactivate the robotic police force, thus clearing their ability to rob and steal.

When they do kidnap Wilson in his van, his vehicle happens to carry the discarded robot and the AI software. In their lair and under the threat of his life, Wilson downloads the program to the robot who is reactivated. At first, the robot displays an innocent and timid child-like demeanor. Showing signs of sentience, Chappie (as he is named by Yolandi, the gangster that he considers his “mommy”) ?????????????????starts learning about the world and bonding with the thugs and Wilson. Unfortunately, Chappie is subjected to cruelty by the head gangster, Ninja (Jones), who only sees him as way to garner money. Insisting he is Chappie’s father, Ninja begins imprinting a gangster ethic into Chappie and before long the robot is bopping along , swearing like a mechanical ghetto thug and committing crimes. Yet, the emotional Chappie develops a sense of morality thanks to Wilson, who he dubs “the Maker”. This helps endear him to his human compatriots and allows him deal with the vicious nature of the gangster world and later Moore. That is because as Chappie undergoes his life lessons, Moore devises a sinister plot to discredit the robotic police and promote his MOOSE. Eventually, both plots collide as Chappie handles the unpleasant nature of humanity.


Watching Chappie is at times a disheartening experience. That is because Chappie is clearly a child, he delights in reading children’s books and art, yet he is thrust into a nasty environment. Imagine WALL-E or Number Five from Short Circuit having to deal with the criminals from The Wire, ?????????????????who think nothing about attacking him without remorse and engaging in criminal behavior. Chappie is essentially corrupted and manipulated by these criminals that generate little empathy with viewers. They’re largely heartless and cruel, except for Yolandi, who bonds with the robot and considers Chappie to be a surrogate son. It’s hard to feel any kinship with these unrepentant characters, which adds to the empathy for Chappie. In a way, Chappie is a metaphor for gangster youth. All children are born innocent, but some become tainted by their environment and commit criminal acts. This is what happens with Chappie, only we the audiences feel more sympathy towards this robot than with a normal human juvenile delinquent. But despite these hardships, Chappie is able to grow, learn and most of all show a profound, curious nature that questions the nature of humanity, hatred, family and mortality.

For that reason, Chappie is less predictable than other films about robots and androids who gain sentience. He isn’t nurtured by his creator and on the run from evil military types who want to use him as a weapon or destroy him. The twist is that Chappie’s moral being has been distorted by bad influences, but he doesn’t become the Terminator. Chappie isn’t evil, just naive and easily misled and he does have redeeming qualities such as his love for “Mommy” and “the Maker”, and a sense of forgiveness. He is a gentle soul and it breaks one heart to see him stuck in a vicious, unkind environment. That is why he is someone to root for, especially in the last part of the film when he faces off against the MOOSE, who is like a bigger, better armed version of ED-209.


After faltering with Elysium, Blomkamp has bounced back with Chappie. It’s not as good as District 9 because of some plot holes, namely the lacking security in the weapons factory that allows Wilson and Moore to carry out their schemes. Another fault is the editing that allowed some characters to disappear for long stretches. Finally, the gangsters are so unpleasant that it’s difficult to care about them and they’re the primary characters along with Chappie. Nonetheless, Chappie is still a solid addition to his filmography.

Lewis T. Grove

A Look At Leonard Nimoy’s Best Spock Moments

spock overheadIt’s still hard to believe that Leonard Nimoy, the Star Trek icon, is gone. As we celebrate his contribution to sci-fi culture let’s look at some of his best moments playing the unforgettable Mr. Spock on TV and film. From stoic, calm and collected to comical or out of character to poignant these are some of truly memorable moments. Live long and prosper, indeed.

Most logical…

A brief moment for love

Funny times

Jammin’ Spock

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