Category Archives: Technology

Out Here: morality and conjecture in the contemporary space drama

A friend of mine once made a statement about space films on her Twitter account, and I’ve been mulling it around in my mind ever since. She said, “All I want is a space movie that doesn’t ask any larger questions,” which calls to mind all the outer space morality plays we’ve witnessed in the last couple decades.

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Elysium, or “Why Was Jodie Foster’s Bad Accent Necessary To Make Her a Villain?”, didn’t so much pose a larger question as it answered one question over and over, really loudly. Class warfare is really hard, everybody! Also everyone deserves access to healthcare!

I thought the most interesting part of Elysium was the enigmatic Wagner Moura’s tattooed, lame-legged character Spider, because his role in the VERY straight-forward morality play wasn’t as boring as the unapologetically cruel Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) or the unapologetically good-hearted Max (Matt Damon). Without characters like Spider gumming up the works with their conflicting, selfish objectives, a space drama like Elysium ends up so simplistically rendered that it acts as a disservice to its setting. I mean, it’s deep space for crying out loud! If ever there was room for a grey area, space is it!

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Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Other Human-Computer Stories

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Robot:
mechanical or virtual agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry

Cyborg: (short for cybernetic organism) being with both organic and mechanical parts

Android: robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human, especially one with a body having a flesh-like resemblance
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2013’s “Her” is a softly-spoken, gently filmed look at artificial intelligence set in a post-Macbook-empire LA. The operating system Samantha (referred to colloquially in the film as an “OS”) is voiced with great care by Scarlett Johansson. This is one of Johansson’s most engrossing performances, rivaled by her turn in 2013’s “Don Jon,” as a fake-fingernailed Jersey princess. Both Samantha and Barbara, Jonhanssen’s character in “Don Jon” are female love interests for their soul-searching, confused male counterparts. The only difference is, Samantha is a computer program designed to facilitate and enhance a human life.

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