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May 8, 2012

Disney and Entertainment and Science Fiction, Oh My!

Walt Disney and Wernher von Braun.
The Primal Mainstream
The Walt Disney Company is a huge entertainment engine that owns both Pixar and Marvel. A company that would create something like The Cat from Outer Space (1978) might not seem like a good bet for bringing intellectually-stimulating science fiction to the big screen, but it was The Black Hole (1979) that started Disney away from the G-rating and down the road towards adult entertainment.

Dejah Thoris with a Thern medallion.
The movie Tron (1982) is credited with helping make clear the potential for computer-generated video and some critics viewed WALL-E (2008) as viable science-fiction story in the Pixar computer animation family of films. Personally, I find it hard to think of Tron:Legacy (2010) as science fiction, since it is more of a fantasy about video games. Mars Needs Moms (2011) reminds me of Moon Pilot (1962),  and I'd like to forget both of these films.


2012


John Carter. I've never been a fan of the adventure/fantasy/science fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I'm intrigued by the way that the John Carter film presents the Therns as technologically advanced manipulators of civilizations on planets such as Mars and Earth, but why do they bother? I was first exposed to "space vampires" that feed on human conflict by Star Trek (Day of the Dove and Wolf in the Fold) and I do not understand the persistence of this meme in Hollywood unless it is due to guilt over the way that so many people can be sucked into paying for an endless progression of good vs. evil stories about soul-sucking monsters. I'd like to know if the script developers for John Carter were planning an interesting backstory for the Therns or if the plan is just for more mindless repeating of a tired old plot device.
My god, Loki, I hope you're paying for this call!

In the Exodemic Fictional Universe, the Huaoshy maintain a balance between the Overseers and the Interventionists, but the Huaoshy are not evil. I wish Hollywood could move away from reliance on plots where a hero has to battle the evil alien.


The Avengers. If only Nixon could go to China, is it only Disney that will be able to open a pop culture market for science fiction stories that portray gods as aliens? Disney previously got into trouble by having an association with Dogma (1999). I suspect it is now part of Disney culture to only make movies that explore non-Christian deities as being alien creatures.

It might be that the Norse gods are an optimal place to start. I don't understand how the writers for The Avengers envision the "gods". In the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thor a human-like being that makes use of advanced technology (Mjolnir?) or are Thor and Loki genetic variants of humans or do they have magical powers (all of the above?)? I don't understand what it means for Thor to be put into a human body.

In the Exodemic Fictional Universe I imagine that advanced nanotechnology can make it possible to shape shift and instantiate an alien mind in a human body. I hope that something similar is going on in The Avengers. I fear that this is all just another fantasy story where the writers do not care to make a coherent science fiction story and the goal is only to blow up a large number of bad guys, but I hope not. I'd be pleased if this is a start towards someone in Hollywood making some interesting stories about aliens who interact with Earth over long periods of time with many different human-like groups and cultures being the result.


Rich Ross.
Conspiracy theory. Did Disney try to kill John Carter? Some have wondered why Disney called John Carter a $200 million loss when the film was only just released. Was someone looking for an excuse to dump Rich Ross? Was there something planned in the John Carter sequel that was too hot for Disney? 

I'd love to see a sequel that includes telepathic Lotharians influencing events on Earth and maybe the son of John and Dejah doing something that helps Earth resist the Lotharians. Is the Thern teleporter also a time travel machine? Is the world depicted as Barsoom by Edgar Rice Burroughs actually Mars of the future?

I've never understood how a human from Earth could go to Mars and father children with the Martians. What if Barsoom is in our future, after humans from Earth have terraformed Mars and created genetically-modified humans? If Barsoom is the future, what is the fate of Earth at the time when John Carter's children are on Mars? Has Earth's civilization collapsed, leaving only decayed remnants of human civilization on "Barsoom" and on Earth? Would such a future for humanity be too dark for Disney?

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Oh, my.

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This (above) is the second of a series of blog posts about my Search for Interesting Hollywood Aliens (SIHA). Here are links to the other SIHA 2012 blog posts:
Start: SciFi Summer 2012
Next:
Horror, Comedy and SciFi in the Woods?
Aliens in Drag
Ancient Aliens
The exciting conclusion to the 2012 Search for Interesting Hollywood Aliens
Promethean Rorschach Test

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