3D Gatsby


My first thought upon hearing about today’s release of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo Dicaprio was “oh, come on”. Not a response to casting Dicaprio; he struck me as a reasonable choice to play Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic. Not because Hollywood remade the film – my reaction is attributed to these words “in 3D”.

Pondering 3D Gatsby hurts my head.A little research of reviews proved interesting; the usual mixed bag of comments from Rex Reed in the New York Observer – “overwrought, asinine, exaggerated, and boring – about as romantic as a pet rock” to David Denby in The New Yorker – ” Lubrmann’s (director) vulgarity is designed to win over a young audience, and it suggests that he’s less a filmmaker than music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste”, or Lou Lumerick in the New York Post – “Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is the first must-see film of Hollywood’s summer season, if for no other reason than the jaw dropping evocation of roaring 20’s New York – in 3D no less” – I wanted to shout “what is wrong with you people”

What happened to the art of film making?  Where did camera angles and lighting go? Why does every new movie released require 3D glasses? What’s next – a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest or The Lady Vanishes in 3D? Holy crap. It’s only a matter of time before Raging Bull manifests itself into a 3D travesty, or 3D Taxi Driver surfaces starring teen angst heart-throb of the moment.

If the decline of human civilization could be captured in one word it would be 3-D. Please Hollywood – muster some self respect; you’re making an ass of yourself. Fill those theater seats with 3-D vampires, zombies, or aliens – knock yourselves out with computer generated trickery, there will always be a place for that. I enjoyed Avatar, and your remake of the A-Team wasn’t half bad.  All I ask is that you remember – film making is an art, not a dog and pony show.

Pondering Geeks


Why is it that people who speak fluent Klingon, translate time into “star dates”, grow pasty in their solitary gaming dens; coaxed out into a world of actual human contact, only when fan expos or game releases demand a physical presence – are called “geeks”? While those who delve into ancient history, gaze at the stars, or question logistics of ancient mysteries are called “wing nuts” or conspiracy theorists?

I don’t speak a word of Klingon despite growing up on Star Trek, haven’t played a video game since Pac Man ruled the pub, and gawk in astonishment as costumed devotees line up for science fiction conventions. Before any one jumps down my pondering throat – I am speaking broad generalizations. All gamers couldn’t possibly aspire to learn Klingon or dress up for Comicon. Science Fiction and fantasy thrive on imagination, role play, escape, and wonder. It just so happens that we give the name “geek” to those people who take it most seriously.

The term “geek” evokes an instant understanding, dare I say explanation for behaviour. Free from truly negative connotations; a geek is harmless, perhaps a little lacking is social graces or self esteem, and thanks to Hollywood writers – capable of saving the day. “Geeks” are free to imagine, escape, and wonder – unfettered by a society willing to look beyond first impressions. Once labelled “geek”, behaviour is overlooked or dismissed as quirky – no harm, no foul.

I’m a geek of sorts. Living in a world of imagination and wonder – the problem rears its ugly head when my inner geek is classified as “wing nut”, or worst of all alien or conspiracy theorist. I ponder ancient accomplishments with wild abandon, don’t for one second think we are alone in the universe, scratch my head; yet not once have I entertained “ancient aliens” or conspiracies. Eyes start to roll at the mention of solar flares or near earth asteroids – all seemingly lumped in with my fondness for ancient cultures fascination with the constellation Orion.

My “geek” and Klingon geek may be like talking apples and oranges. Just the same; I want a warm fuzzy name for my geeky interests. I’m a lot more vocal than Klingon speaking dungeon masters, spend more time in science than fiction, and am quite certain my analogy will be lost on many a now irate gamer. Put your swords and magic potions away, I’m making a point.

Ponder the label geek and then conspiracy theorist. The first is passive, the later aggressive. Maybe if we came up with a socially acceptable generalization for people who marvel at the ancients or gaze at the stars, I wouldn’t be so pissed off when having to explain for the hundredth time – there are marvels beyond explanation shaping our universe. Not any God, not alien intervention – simply kick ass accomplishments that make me smile – not crazy, just a pondering geek.

Time To Dust Off Chariots of the Gods


In 1968 Erich Von Daniken published a book titled Chariots of the Gods. For those of my generation it was a “must read”. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t read it or talk about it. The space program was in full throttle, Hollywood pumped out campy science fiction movies  and L. Ron Hubbard was busy dreaming up Scientology. We all gazed at the sky, tin foil hats ready.

Daniken suggested for the first time that Earth had been visited by extraterrestrials, and it was with their help or technology that ancient structures were constructed. He suggested that angels and Gods were nothing more than primitive cultures interpretation of alien visitors.  Far fetched? Fair enough.

The interesting thing about his book were the irrefutable facts. For the first time the world learned of the Nasca lines. Draw any conclusion you like, but it doesn’t change the fact that on the top of a mountain plateau in South America lay ancient “lines” etched into the ground, of mammoth proportions, and only discernible from above. We pondered until our heads hurt. Stonehenge, Easter Island, the Great Pyramids, he opened our eyes to wonder. We didn’t have to buy into his alien theories, we did however grasp possibilities of civilizations lost.

Time to dust off Chariots of the Gods for a new generation of dreamers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtBfBGCaABU

Spider Nazca Line

Photo from – http://nicholasspyer.com/2010/04/05/aliens-spacemen-spiders-and-monkeys-perus-nazca-lines/