Sunday, April 10, 2011

Movies

Lucidicus Project saw a sneak preview of Atlas Shrugged and liked it:
The opening sequence features a racing locomotive and television news flashes describing the dire state of the world—a world in which rail transportation has reemerged as the only efficient way to move people and goods due to high oil prices. The introduction is gripping and ought to be enough to get anyone excited for the story. I, for one, fully support the decision to set this adaptation in the year 2016, rather than to attempt to recreate the original era of the novel.
I confess: it is always a struggle to know whether to update a story for modern sensibilities, or to leave it in its original context.  I was disappointed to see Starship Troopers updated into modern sensibilities, because part of what made Heinlein's novel so charming was how it captured the 1950s sentiments--and was shocking change we have experienced since then.

I also saw The Book of Eli yesterday--and I was utterly startled by it.  For a film that opens as a violent action film, it is about as bluntly Christian as mainstream Hollywood can produce.  The latter 1/3 of this film is the type of film that Hollywood used to make: The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, Miracle in the Rain.  At the same time, the violent action film that is the first 1/2 or 2/3 of the film will attract a lot of people who are unlikely to be otherwise exposed to the Christian message in even a diluted form in post-Christian America.

I am watching a fascinating documentary,  Azorian: The Raising of the K-129, about the CIA's Glomar Explorer project to raise the Soviet nuclear submarine K-129 from 16,000 feet of ocean in the 1970s--one of the most impressive engineering projects ever attempted, and which was largely a success.  I knew quite a bit about the project--but the more I learn from watching this, the more impressed I am. 

Remember that the reason we won the Cold War was not that we had more courageous spies and military: the Soviets were never short of these, either.  We won the Cold War because we outengineered and outproduced the Soviet Union.  When Reagan bluffed with the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Soviet Union did not know that it was a bluff (or at least, was largely a bluff).  Knowing that we stuck a claw through three miles of ocean to lift 2/3 of a nuclear submarine to the surface in the 1970s must have made the Soviet leadership realize that they were confronting the most capable engineers the world has ever seen.

7 comments:

Rick C said...

Clayton, the movie version of Starship Troopers was another movie that they grafted the name onto--it wasn't an updated version of the book.

Windy Wilson said...

As my cousin from Austria said in 1994 about other accomplishments, and a bit wistfully, "for America anything is possible."

patrokov said...

The end of the Book of Eli hugely dilutes the Christian message. The culmination of the entire journey is the newly pressed bible is placed on the shelf right next to...wait for it...the Koran.

Bubblehead said...

K-129 was a Golf-class submarine, which is diesel-electric, not nuclear.

Clayton said...

Carrying nuclear warhead missiles. Thanks for the clarification about the propulsion system.

Clayton said...

My wife's first reaction to the end of The Book of Eli was much like yours; on the other hand, in a small library, all the holy books would be put on the same shelf. My Koran sits on a shelf with a bunch of books about the Bible.

Epsilon Given said...

I'll second Rick C's comment. Perhaps the best quote I've heard about Starship Troopers goes something like "Based somewhat on the blurb of an RAH novel."