Friday, November 21, 2008

Asian Influences & Sci-Fi Movies

First, I want to talk about the newest London stage sensation, "Monkey: Journey to the West." The show's creators took an ancient Chinese folk tale, infused it with a bit of Opera, a bit of Circus and a bit of multi-media to create what is undoubtedly a unique performance experience. As you can see from teh video below, the show looks absolutely dazzling. And if you are the kind of Cirque du Soleil fan that I am, you're going nuts watching it:
You can also see a CNN report on the show, here. Boy, I hope it plays in the U.S. I'll be first in line for tickets.
As child in the late 60's and early 70's, one of my favorite cartoon shows was the Japanese Sci-Fi Anime, "Astro Boy," the story of a flying robot boy who fought danger and saved Tokyo from all sorts of monsters. The show was apparently revived in the '80's, though I never saw that version. Now a CGI movie version is due for next year, featuring Britain's version of Haley Joel Osment, Freddy Highmore, voicing the title role. I can't say I'm exactly excited for this movie, especially after the disastrous Wachowski Brothers version of another iconic childhood Anime show, Speed Racer, though it certainly has the potential to be as much fun as I remember. As long they include Doctor Elephant...
As a last thought....
"Michael Rennie was ill, the Day the Earth Stood Still..." Or so goes the song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I have to a cult movie entry, soon). The original 1951 version of the Sci-Fi classic was a cold-war anti-nuclear warning movie about the dangers of the then escalating nuclear weapons race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. It starred the aforementioned Rennie as Klaatu, an alien sent to earth withh is robot Gort, in an attempt to warn against teh evils of war, and Patricia Neil as scientist who got to utter the now classic line "Klaatu, barada nikto." The new version stars (God help us) Keanu Reeves, Kathy Bates, John Cleese and (thank God) Jennifer Connelly in the Neil role. Apparently, this version takes on global warming and the ecology. I'll cheerfully withhold judgment until I see it for myself. meanwhile, here's the latest trailer:
As always, more of this, anon.

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