Thursday, February 05, 2009


I don't know how many of you have seen the South Park episode from last year called "Over Logging." It provides a funny commentary not only how people feel they need the Internet (as we talked about), but also on how it's often being used. You can easily watch their episodes at south park studios or watch the particular episode at hulu. It's season 12, episode 6, I think.

We looked at advertisements in class, but I think it's also fascinating to see how computers/technological innovation/information are presented in movies. I know Jen brought up War Games. It made me think about The Net with Sandra Bullock and many others. Can you name any others?

Also, Jen, I know you're a studied fan of sci fi/fantasy. Could one say that sci fi seems to comment on the present while fantasy seeks to escape it? Just a thought.


  1. i watched TRON a week ago, and was blown away at how good the graphics were, given that it was made in the early early 80s. the idea of a computer being sentient and entering into s many other computers and all... i wonder how many people thought that the film was a semi-accurate way to think about computers?

    also, using a "bit" as comedic relief was easily one of the high points.

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  3. Yeah, it's surprising how older films can often have better special effects. I recently saw a preview of a movie that had dinosaurs in it, a T Rex specifically, and I remember thinking how much better Jurassic Park did it.

    The movie Weird Science seems to combine several fantasies into one. It goes back to my sex with robots meme, in some ways. I'm not obsessed with that, really. Have I talked to you about sex with robots lately?

    Actually, Real Genius was made in 1985, just like Weird Science. Those computers/that technology and those genius kids, who knew what could happen.

  4. I was going to bring up TRON, too. That moves toward fear of sentient machines (particularly those that look human), which seems to crop up a lot in recent years - AI and I, Robot, plus the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica.

  5. One can't talk about computer/human interaction without mentioning 2001: A Space Odyssey and HAL. Perhaps our "fear" of computers stems from this Kubrick classic. On a completely different note, Hackers from the mid-1990s is shows the next level of hobby tinkering on computers and youth culture.

  6. There certainly are a lot of movies that play off our fear of computers. The Matrix and Terminator series come to mind and of course BSG.

    In regard to how computers/tech are presented in media I thought of Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson and the movie Lawnmower Man (1992). Both depict computers/internet as being some virtual world full of shapes and lights simialr to TRON.

  7. I'd say rather than the difference between sci-fi and fantasy the difference is between good genre fiction and pulp genre fiction: Good genre fiction comments on the problems of today and pulp genre fiction is escapist. There's a lot of trashy sci-fi that has nothing to say about the world and a lot of good fantasy that has plenty to say.

    On technology in movies, how about Iron Man? I really like how, rather than having a stance of "technology is good!" or "technology is bad!" the whole Iron Man story presents both good technology and bad technology (both produced by the same guy).