Tuesday, June 05, 2007
"They're not lost in space... They're loose."
As Joe is learning that there is more to sci-fi than Star Wars, I decided to show him (and my mother) one of my favorite science fiction movies ever made, Dark Star (John Carpenter & Dan O'Bannon's film-school project.) My mother, for some inexplicable reason, wasn't impressed. Joe, however, loved the extremely expensive special effects (the alien is basically a beach-ball with puppet hands,) but two parts disturbed him: one, that the astronauts could communicate with the dead & frozen commander of the ship via radio (An homage to Philip K. Dick. The other major homages are to Ray Bradbury's classic short story, "Kaleidescope," & of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey.) And two, he didn't quite understand the ending, which concerns teaching phenomenology (did I mention this was a college film?) to a bomb with artificial intelligence.
"OK," I explained, tucking him in for the night, "prove to me that you are not the only thing in the world, and that everything you see and hear isn't just part of your imagination."
He thought about it for a moment. "Because you're real," he said.
"Prove it!" I said.
He thought about it some more. "You are!" he said.
"Prove it!" I continued with a grin on my face.
"Stop it, Daddy," he said, and I could tell the problem was starting to bug him. A little too much for a nine-year-old before bed, I guess. Instead, we both agreed that "Time for sleepy-by, you worthless piece of garbage!" is the coolest thing possible you can say to an alien before you shoot him- especially in a G-rated film.