June 16, 2009

Forbidden Dream

Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2008

Directed by: Mohamed Talaat

Written by: Erden Zikibay

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Key Cast Members:

  • Runaway Slave: Amanda DePerez
  • Lead Slave Hunter/Labor Camp Guard/Slave: Aidar Sydykov
  • Slave Hunters: Yerbol Zimanov & Yerbol Alkhanov
  • Slave: Tengiz Sydykov
  • Labor Camp Guard: Erden Zikibay
  • Rating: 7 out of 10

    Any similarities between this and certain movies… was probably intended.

    Overview: Somewhere is a budding Steven Spielberg, Riddley Scott, Cecil B. DeMille, or Laszlo Kovacs sitting in a classroom, secretly (or not-so-secretly) dreaming up the next Blade Runner or Matrix, or some similar mash-up of cyberpunk media. Erden Zikibay and Mohamed Talaat make their case with this cyberpunk short.


    The Story: It’s mid-21st century and Earth government begins an ambitious space exploration endeavor, but getting people to join the effort proves difficult… until they revive an old institution: Slavery.

    I’m going to stop it there since you are already familiar with Blade Runner (And if you’re not, WHAT THE F&^@ IS WRONG WITH YOU???). Forbidden Dreams draws heavily on Blade Runner, and to a lesser extent, The Matrix (the hunters’ outfits and shades). There’s no Roy Batty speech at the end, but a quote from Phillip K. Dick that makes the connection obvious.

    Being a student film, the quality is far from the multi-megadollar Hollywood fare. But for its ten minute run, they use what they had to its best effects.


    The Bottom Line: You have to give Erden and Mohamed credit: To make a low-budget version of a legendary movie takes some balls. Hopefully they got A’s for their effort.

    For the rest of us, Forbidden Dream would probably be best described as the Cliffs Notes to Blade Runner: It gives you the basic idea behind BR in a ten minute snippet, but you really need to see the full movie, if only for Roy Batty’s death speech.

    This post has been filed under Amateur Film Production, Dystopic Future Movies, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009, Cyberpunk Theme by Mr. Roboto.

    Sources: NewScientist, Web Science Research Initiative

    Tim Berners-Lee

    Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is now concerned that the net has become more powerful than even he believed possible. Now, he wants to put it under a microscope so he/we can understand why.

    The Web is God? When Tim Berners-Lee first created what would be the foundations for the Web (not the Net, WEB. Let’s get our usage right.), he could not have predicted the explosive growth seen in the 1990s through today. In fact, the Web is now so ingrained into our cultures that humanity is practically fused to it. This fusion is causing its own problems.

    That is giving Berners-Lee some cause for alarm. To study the effects that the Web is now having on humanity, he has founded the Web Science Research Initiative and came up with the term Web Science to describe what the WSRI is studying:

    When we discuss an agenda for a science of the Web, we use the term “science” in two ways. Physical and biological science analyzes the natural world, and tries to find microscopic laws that, extrapolated to the macroscopic realm, would generate the behavior observed. Computer science, by contrast, though partly analytic, is principally synthetic: It is concerned with the construction of new languages and algorithms in order to produce novel desired computer behaviors. Web science is a combination of these two features. The Web is an engineered space created through formally specified languages and protocols. However, because humans are the creators of Web pages and links between them, their interactions form emergent patterns in the Web at a macroscopic scale. These human interactions are, in turn, governed by social conventions and laws. Web science, therefore, must be inherently interdisciplinary; its goal is to both understand the growth of the Web and to create approaches that allow new powerful and more beneficial patterns to occur.

    Web Science Collision map

    As you can see by this ’simple’ map, the Web affects many aspects of society, so there are many aspects to Web Science to consider. It’s even possible that the Singularity may be lurking in here, with SHODAN and Skynet.


    Weird Science, or necessary discipline?

    (From NewScientist) How does understanding these emergent systems affect society?

    Because if you get it right, you can create a new social phenomenon that changes how people operate. Take designing an online market for second-hand goods: if you get the website’s balance of social and technical wrong, or mess up its trust and reputation model, it won’t work. But if you get it right, you create a market for used goods internationally that can affect the price of products around the world because it provides the price of the second-hand alternative. It is a web phenomenon that changed the way society works, and we need a science to understand it.

    Web Science sounds like something that people who work with the Web need to know, not just for designing sites, but for security and privacy as well. But is it something worth getting a PhD for? The biggest test will be when… or if… they are able to but the science into actual use for everyday people. Remember: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.

    This post has been filed under Internet Find, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

    June 4, 2009

    Terminator Salvation

    Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

    Year: 2009

    Directed by: McG

    Written by: John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

    Key Cast Members:

  • John Connor: Christian Bale
  • Marcus Wright: Sam Worthington
  • Kyle Reese: Anton Yelchin
  • Kate Connor: Bryce Dallas Howard
  • Blair Williams: Moon Bloodgood
  • Dr. Serena Kogan: Helena Bonham Carter
  • Rating: 8 out of 10

    John Connor

    “I knew it. I knew it was coming. But this is not the future my mother warned me about. And in this future, I don’t know if we can win this war. This is John Connor.”

    Overview: After the train wreck that was Rise of the Machines, one would think that, with “salvation” in its title, this would be a return to the glory days of Judgement Day.

    Not quite there.

    Note: The Star rating is based on the cyberpunk content of the movie, not it’s quality. Personally, it would only be a 4 or 5 out of 10.

    Salvation is better than T3, but still falls short of T2. Maybe it’s because of the way it is presented. From the trailers one gets the impression that Salvation would be about John Connor’s rise to leadership of the the human resistance. In actuality, Connor’s rise is more of a side-story…


    The Story: The movie starts in a death-row jail cell in 2003, where a murderous convict named Marcus Wright awaits execution. He is being visited by Dr. Serena Kogan who wants Wright to donate his body to “science.” Wright agrees and signs the papers (with Cyberdyne letterhead) before being put to death.

    Now, it is 2018, and John Connor leads an assault on a Skynet facility. Connor’s team is exterminated while he barely escapes, but someone else manages to leave the facility after the devastation, Marcus Wright. Wright wanders the wastelands until he reaches what’s left of Los Angeles, and encounters a young teen named Kyle Reese. Meanwhile, Connor has his own problems with the current leaders of the human resistance, then learns that he is on Skynet’s hit list, number two behind Kyle Reese.

    Wright tries to get help Reese find Connor, but Reese and his deaf-mute friend are captured, leaving Wright to try to find Connor and possibly find a way to save Reese. When the two finally meet, we learn that Wright isn’t human… only Wright himself doesn’t know it …


    Who’s Salvation Is It Anyway? Like said before, Salvation isn’t about Connor’s or humanity’s salvation. Rather it’s about Wright’s salvation; His trial by post-nuclear fire in the robot ruled wastelands to learn that he is not a monster we are first lead to believe…

    Marcus Wright and Blair Williams

    “He saved my life. I saw a man, not a machine.” - Blair Williams

    After being shot down by Skynet’s forces, Blair Williams finds herself and her parachute tangled in a high-tension wire tower. Marcus finds her and helps her down to the ground. She asks if he is one of the good guys, but he says no. She tells him “You’re a good guy. You just don’t know it yet.” She soon falls in love with Wright as they travel back to Connor’s base, and even helps him escape when his mechanization is revealed.

    Later, after helping Connor rescue Reese (and some other captured humans), Connor is critically hurt and needs a new heart. Wright offers his. The last words we hear from him are along the lines of “there’s something about the human heart that can’t be programmed into a chip” (Quotes are still coming in). This act of sacrifice would complete Wright’s transformation from death row douchebag to a hero for the resistance. If only the same can be said for the rest of the movie.


    The Bottom Line: It’s hard to say that Salvation is bad. It’s not T3 bad, but no where near T2 level. Maybe if McG focused more on Wright’s story than Connor’s… that story would seem be more about salvation than Connor’s rise to resistance leader.

    Marcus Wright at Cyberdyne

    “Humans have a strength that cannot be measured. This is John Connor. If you are listening to this,you are the resistance.”
    This post has been filed under Dystopic Future Movies, Android Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009, Cyberpunk Theme by Mr. Roboto.

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