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14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

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14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 07-28-21, 05:27 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
I'd been warned Alien≥ was a dismal disappointment and man, oh, man was it. It's basically the Anti-Aliens, running as far as possible in the exact opposite direction. This Ripley goes from attending a funeral for someone she had loved straight into hooking up with the prison doctor with nary another word to suggest she's even remotely bothered by her latest loss. She's not even concerned about stopping the Xenomorph this time to save anyone so much as it is just out of spite for the company. It's a complete betrayal of the Ripley character and I hated it.
I know this movie seems to get a lot more contrarian love these days, but I'm with you on this. "Betrayal" is a good word describing how it treated its characters from the last movie. I suppose if you looked at it as a stand-alone movie it was ok (though I have trouble telling all of the bald sweaty guys apart). But Alien and Aliens are so strong and iconic they won't leave your brain when watching other movies in the series.

Do you know all of the behind-the-scenes craziness with this movie? I don't know if you're watching streaming or from home video. But if it's the latter, the "making of" doc for Alien≥is great (probably better than the movie itself).

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Alien Resurrection is inherently flawed, given its starting point but I'm willing to play along. There are some fantastic set pieces (the underwater sequence and the room with the clones), and I'm a sucker for Winona Ryder. It's not on the same tier as the first two, but considerably closer than its immediate predecessor.
This is a movie I need to revisit (I was going through my quadrilogy Blu-Ray set a few years ago for the horror challenge, but Alien≥must have sucked out my will to continue because I stopped there). I think I only saw it the once in the theaters, and remember having much the same response as you wrote. Having just watched Jean-Pierre Jeunet's previous movie, it may be interesting to follow it up with his one big-budget American movie. I can see how City of Lost Children put Jeunet on the radar of the Alien series producers, with its creativity, striking visuals, gothic sci-fi/fantasy/horror tone, and unique action sequences. Although its humor and strangeness wouldn't seem to be a good for an Alien movie. But after Alien≥I can understand how some producers may be willing to go in a different direction.
Old 07-28-21, 05:39 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
I watched World on a Wire last year and loved it. Thematically, it's a "What is a human?" story. Those can quickly become obvious and predictable. What made this one work so well for me was that it was built into a straight up thriller that would have been engaging even without that big picture conversation. Yet, the idea was central and never felt like a mere afterthought. Highly recommended for fans of mysteries.
Yes, it was a movie that had you thinking. But never stepped over-the-line (for me at least) to become confusing. One key twist modern audiences should see coming from a mile away:
Spoiler:
that Fred Stiller and everything we've been seeing has been taking place in a virtual world all along.


But that gets revealed at the mid-way point, and the really interesting thing is how the characters deal with that (both in thoughts and actions) and resolve their problems. And I really liked how everything came together at the end:
Spoiler:
with the "virtual" Stiller swapping minds with the "real" one, just after it seemed it was gunned down and killed in the virtual world.


Plus, the whole look of the movie was cool ... a near-future world through the filter of early 70s Germany. There were some interesting and unconventional filming angles that added to the atmosphere.
Old 07-28-21, 06:09 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by brainee
I know this movie seems to get a lot more contrarian love these days, but I'm with you on this. "Betrayal" is a good word describing how it treated its characters from the last movie. I suppose if you looked at it as a stand-alone movie it was ok (though I have trouble telling all of the bald sweaty guys apart). But Alien and Aliens are so strong and iconic they won't leave your brain when watching other movies in the series.

Do you know all of the behind-the-scenes craziness with this movie? I don't know if you're watching streaming or from home video. But if it's the latter, the "making of" doc for Alien≥is great (probably better than the movie itself).
I was aware of some of the chaos at the time, but not being invested in the series I didn't make any effort to keep up with any of it. I've been watching on disc. I wanted to focus on getting through the movies first, then circle back later for the myriad supplements. I'll say this for Fox: From the menu screens, it looks like they put some effort into the supplements for this series that go beyond the typical generic "So and so was great to work with and it was hard to shoot outside that day" fare. It's a shame they didn't put quite as much effort into crafting a cohesive narrative that felt consistent throughout all four of the Ripley quadrilogy. Still, I enjoyed the four overall and I'm keen to keep exploring that universe. I can think of quite a few series where I didn't feel that way four movies in.


This is a movie I need to revisit (I was going through my quadrilogy Blu-Ray set a few years ago for the horror challenge, but Alien≥must have sucked out my will to continue because I stopped there). I think I only saw it the once in the theaters, and remember having much the same response as you wrote. Having just watched Jean-Pierre Jeunet's previous movie, it may be interesting to follow it up with his one big-budget American movie. I can see how City of Lost Children put Jeunet on the radar of the Alien series producers, with its creativity, striking visuals, gothic sci-fi/fantasy/horror tone, and unique action sequences. Although its humor and strangeness wouldn't seem to be a good for an Alien movie. But after Alien≥I can understand how some producers may be willing to go in a different direction.
Given how much it sounds like our reactions were similar overall, I would encourage you to squeeze in another viewing of Resurrection if you can before the challenge ends.
Old 07-29-21, 02:24 AM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
Given how much it sounds like our reactions were similar overall, I would encourage you to squeeze in another viewing of Resurrection if you can before the challenge ends.
I did end up watching Alien: Resurrection ... and it's pretty much how I remembered it. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a great director and Joss Whedon is a great writer, but they don't feel like good fits for an Alien movie. The baby alien/human monster is still pretty ridiculous.
I watched the Special Edition version, which I hadn't seen before. It's not a huge difference (only about 6 minutes longer) from the theatrical cut. A couple spots of longer character development conversations. Different scene that the opening credits play over (a goofy little scene that fits in more with other Jeunet movies). And the end shot is a little different:
Spoiler:
it still ends with the same conversation between Ripley and Call. But instead of being on the ship looking down on Earth, they've already landed. They're talking outside of Paris, which looks post-apocalyptic with sand dunes covering everything and the city in ruins.

I got a chuckle out of Jeunet's short introduction to the Special Edition. He makes it clear the theatrical cut is his director's cut ... and the Special Edition is just something that was thrown together for the DVD release.

Old 07-29-21, 09:20 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I have barely cracked the 50 watch mark this month. I hope this is not a sign of how my October Horror challenge is going to go.
Old 07-29-21, 09:30 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by numbercrunch
I have barely cracked the 50 watch mark this month. I hope this is not a sign of how my October Horror challenge is going to go.
You did much better than I did! I honestly expected to have more time to watch this month than I really did end up but I'm happy with what I have watched. Several movies marked off the "to watch" list.

I wouldn't use this challenge as a benchmark for October though...The Horror challenge is a special one!

Watching the commentary on Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016 version) and while it's not super dull, I'm not a fan of how when the director isn't talking, you can't hear the film. He's listening, but you can't hear the dialogue. There's been at least 3 or 4 moments where a minute or two passes before he talks again.
Old 07-30-21, 09:56 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Tomorrow (maybe today for some of you) is the last day of the challenge. Don't forget that you can get double credit for the animation challenge if you're participating!

How have people liked the checklist? Any weird things come up with all the changes? Do people like the additions of the IMDB rating/categories (the tv series/feature film/short section?) Anything you'd like added or removed? Let me know, please!
Old 08-01-21, 04:06 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Well, finished up with 43 views (adding up tv episodes until they reach feature-length counting as a single view) which is about what I was expecting. Just way too many other things I like to do with my time in July to watch too much (as opposed to October challenge). But I got in a number of first-time views as well as making the time to rewatch old favorites.

I made a pretty good dent in my Space:1999 Blu-Ray set, watching 19 of the 24 Season 1 episodes. While the show has problems I'm enjoying it. The sets and model work are beautiful, and the direction/cinematography are surprisingly artistic. I like how guest stars are often billed as "Guest Artist", and there have been some interesting guests to see (like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing). Like other genre shows of it era, episode quality varies greatly ... when it's good, it's very good (and unlike anything else done for tv at its time). But there are some clunkers too. The stories often get metaphysical, and I like how numerous episodes end on an unsettling note (some of which would've fit in well into something like The Twilight Zone). Though overall, the writing is probably the biggest weakness. This show would've benefited greatly bringing in sci-fi writing pros for some scripts like Star Trek did (with writers like Harlan Ellison, Robert Block, Richard Matheson, Theodore Sturgeon, Norman Spinrad). Martin Landau and Barbara Bain are pretty stiff as the leads. I know Landau has been great in other things, but he's pretty nondescript here. A show could get away with a bland straight-laced lead if the supporting cast balanced it out, but that doesn't happen here.

There is something else I'm trying to understand about this show: the uniforms. What possible function could a zipper on the left sleeve have? Everyone's shirt on Moonbase Alpha has it:


I'm not a huge anime follower, but I started watching Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba this month too. Usually shows take seasons to deteriorate from where I really like it to where I can't stand to watch it. But this managed that feat in a dozen episodes, thanks to the introduction of the most annoying anime character I have ever seen (and anime has some really annoying ones). I was hoping this change was just for the one 4 episode story arc, but no ... it sounds like it's a change for the rest of the show. The fact that I see online comments saying that this is their favorite character and they think this is when it got good makes it clear this is not going to be something for me, and that I should cut my losses now.

Last edited by brainee; 08-01-21 at 04:17 PM.
Old 08-02-21, 02:31 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Now that the challenge is officially over, how did you enjoy it? I hope that everyone got through their to watch pile at least! Are people liking the new check list? Any suggestions for next year?

I'll give people a couple days to finalize their checklists/watch lists and do a few stats on here. I know I didn't do prizes this year, but it's always fun to see what people accomplished!

Originally Posted by brainee
There is something else I'm trying to understand about this show: the uniforms. What possible function could a zipper on the left sleeve have? Everyone's shirt on Moonbase Alpha has it:.
I'm not sure, but I love the purple!
Old 08-02-21, 02:53 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I didnít get as much in as I would have liked, but I had fun and enjoyed what watched. I think the high point of the month was when I dug out a pseudodocumentary based on the assumption that dragons had lived, called Dragonís World: A Fantasy Made Real. It had been years since I had watched it, but I still loved it. I got it at Walmart many years ago, likely soon after it had aired on Discovery.
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Old 08-02-21, 03:56 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I had fun and got through my watch pile. I started the animation challenge a wee bit early because I burned through my list rather quickly (It wasn't as lengthy as previous years though). Thank you for hosting!
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Old 08-02-21, 08:02 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I didn't get to nearly as much as I wanted. There were several key reasons, one being that my Redlegs are still playing good baseball and another being that late at night after the games, I found myself more interested in watching Bogie than sci-fi/fantasy. Also, I lost a week to couch-surfing while waiting on someone to come out and address a septic system problem at the house. Though during that week, one friend got me started on Star Wars Rebels. I didn't intend to watch anything from Star Wars this month except new episodes of The Bad Batch, but ended up going through all of Rebels anyway, and that nudged me to revisit Rogue One. As for first time viewings, I finally got around to Pan's Labyrinth, They Live, and the Alien sequels Alien≥ and Alien Resurrection. I also watched my discs of The 10th Victim and The Last Starfighter. Of these, my favorite was 10th Victim, though I can certainly appreciate why Pan's Labyrinth is held in such esteem. My initial hope was to check out more stuff like Pan's Labyrinth, but ended up being primarily Star Wars anyway. It's the DVD Talk challenge equivalent of going to Target for just a few things...!

Anyway, my thanks to our host LJG765 for running this show, and also for inviting me to sync up for "The Trouble With Tribbles" and "Trials and Tribble-ations". As a quick aside, I noticed something in the former that I had never caught in any of my myriad previous viewings. Scotty razzes on Chekov for drinking vodka instead of scotch while they're at the bar. When the Klingon starts picking a fight, Scotty stops Chekov from standing up to him and insists that he sit down and have his drink. What I'd never noticed was that just before he says this, Scotty swaps out Chekov's vodka for his scotch!
Old 08-03-21, 09:50 PM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I had a good challenge, seeing more new watches than rewatches and getting in just over 160 hours of watching. I also thought that it was interesting that more than half of my movies came from the library this go round. Overall I thought the new checklist worked well and I want to also thank LJG765 for the time he put into revamping the checklist and then running the thing. He did a great job like he always does!
Old 08-04-21, 02:51 AM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Yes, she does a great job. It's a lot of work putting together/updating a checklist. I didn't use the updated checklist this year but it's very good and has some much needed changes applied.
Old 08-05-21, 12:26 AM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
...The Last Starfighter...

Anyway, my thanks to our host LJG765 for running this show, and also for inviting me to sync up for "The Trouble With Tribbles" and "Trials and Tribble-ations". As a quick aside, I noticed something in the former that I had never caught in any of my myriad previous viewings. Scotty razzes on Chekov for drinking vodka instead of scotch while they're at the bar. When the Klingon starts picking a fight, Scotty stops Chekov from standing up to him and insists that he sit down and have his drink. What I'd never noticed was that just before he says this, Scotty swaps out Chekov's vodka for his scotch!
I almost watched The Last Starfighter last month! I should have messaged you earlier and we could have sync'd watched that one too! I had a lot of fun watching the Tribbles episodes with you too. I really enjoyed several years ago when we went through the whole TOS, Animated Series and the movies. We really need to do it more often.

Originally Posted by orlmac
I had a good challenge, seeing more new watches than rewatches and getting in just over 160 hours of watching. I also thought that it was interesting that more than half of my movies came from the library this go round. Overall I thought the new checklist worked well and I want to also thank LJG765 for the time he put into revamping the checklist and then running the thing. He did a great job like he always does!
Thank you! Glad you think the checklist worked well! Hopefully next year, I can just update the "he's dead, Jim" section and let it ride. I think it might be time for an overhaul of the animation challenge next. But 160 hours! Nice!

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
Yes, she does a great job. It's a lot of work putting together/updating a checklist. I didn't use the updated checklist this year but it's very good and has some much needed changes applied.
Thank you! Glad you think the checklist overhaul did well. You'll have to try it next year and tell me how it works in practice.
Old 08-05-21, 07:16 AM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

I liked the revamped checklist too! Thanks for all the work you put into that and running the challenge, LJG765!

So I was trying for a full "traditional" entry of Alice Guy shorts (90 minutes), given that she was my suggestion, and... it was harder than I expected, LOL. I guess the overlap in the Venn diagram of "SF/F-themed films" and "films that are available to view" among her works was not as wide as I had counted on. Still, I managed it, if only by stretching the definition of fantasy a bit with the 45-minute Dick Whittington and his Cat. (The film's based on a folk tale, and there are a couple fantasy sequences, but overall it's not really strongly fantasy.) Ah well, best-laid plans...

I had a lot going on in July, so I didn't even really decide I was doing the challenge until about mid-month (and then had to scramble to remember what I'd already watched in July that would qualify) but still came out pretty satisfied with my list. I think my favorite new-to-me watch was The Mitchells vs the Machines, which I thought was very entertaining and well-done.
Old 08-10-21, 02:10 AM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by alyxstarr
I liked the revamped checklist too! Thanks for all the work you put into that and running the challenge, LJG765!

So I was trying for a full "traditional" entry of Alice Guy shorts (90 minutes), given that she was my suggestion, and... it was harder than I expected, LOL..
Thanks, glad you liked the checklist! Also, no worries about a suggestion not working out! They sometimes look good on paper (and I do try to take a look at suggestions as well) but in practice, not so much.
Old 08-10-21, 02:16 AM
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Re: 14th Annual Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge Discussion Thread

Alright! Time for a bit of stats of the challenge to wrap things up for 2021!

This year, we had 31 participants (including myself)! As a group, we watched 1787 entries (though this is slightly higher in reality depending on a few people's counting methods). That means that we had 57.6 average watches per person!

10 people started the checklist but only 4 finished. There were a couple more people that came close to finishing, though!

Shout out to tarfrimmer for doing a complete blackout of the checklist! That was amazing! Also, shellebelle came very close to blacking it out as well!

Thanks again to everyone who participated! I hope to see you all next year!

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