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MoonPop: Finders Keepers May 19, 2008

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A different hallway of pop culture for ya today…

This week’s feature is one way to wear your Lunar-American patriotism on your sleeve. Literally.

In a bizarre twist, in saving that “Finders Keepers” image above to my images folder for this blog, it happened to be saved in such a way that in gallery view, it’s right next to the very picture it happens to be based off of (which I had saved as ‘flag_pose’). I’ve only got about 20 pictures in there, what are the odds it’d end up next to the exact pose? Or even having that particular photo in there from a different post in the first place? Talk about a freak of alphabetizing.

MoonPop Bonus: "Iron Man" (News) May 4, 2008

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Just got back from seeing “Iron Man” on one of the most beautiful days I have ever seen (hey, after winter lasted until like ~April 20th here, nature owes us Oregonians one), and in a film making a cool $100 million+ after three days (good for second-best for a nonsequel ever), there’s a little MoonPop in there for us Lunatics’ enjoyment.

The film (possibly the most intelligent/genuinely thoughtful blockbuster I’ve ever seen, and the first real successful pop look at the meanings of the post-9/11 era; and I always say, a pop look is the most important kind, as that’s what most people actually see) includes Mr. Tony Stark in the film’s eponymous suit several times making high, test launches to see what altitude his flying suit can manage.

All the attempts are at night, and the one object he focuses on as he soars to the limits of technology’s capabilities? The Moon, of course. Beautifully so, too. ‘Shooting for the moon’, you could say.

An allegory for mankind’s current push to, once again, stretch our technologies to the limit in pursuit of the Moon (and finding inspiration in the process)? I would say so, especially considering the other deep material in the film regarding current events. For entertainment, this film makes a surprising number of serious choices in its means of (very effective) engagement.

For a film that has an astounding 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and yet also is making $100 million in one weekend (that’s a lot of spectators!), a little thought on the meaning of the Moon both says a lot (about the profile of this type of thinking), and will go a long way.

MoonPop: "2001: A Space Odyssey"-The Trip to the Moon May 4, 2008

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For your Youtube viewing pleasure today is this week’s moon colonization in pop culture highlight: the sequence from Stanley Kubrick‘s legendary 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey” involving a trip from Earth to the Moon, with one of the most unique choices in film history as far as sound design, and the level this design is taken to:

An interesting thing I noticed upon watching this again is the lander the astronauts use, which has strong similarity to a current NASA design and previous Picture of the Week feature here at Luna C/I. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? :)

MoonPop: Futurama, "The Series Has Landed" April 20, 2008

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This week’s exhibit of moon colonization in pop culture comes courtesy of “Futurama“, the highly entertaining animated program that is the second series from the creators of “The Simpsons“. The general plot and setting of the series revolves around a delivery boy (Fry) who gets accidentally cryogenically frozen in 2000, and wakes up in 3000, only to find himself as a delivery boy again in this far future.

The second episode of the series (after the pilot, and of 72 episodes in the original run) is called “The Series Has Landed” and features comedic musings on the meaning of moon colonization. The events of the episode involve Fry and the crew he ends up with (Planet Express) doing a, to them, routine delivery to the Moon (which of course, blows him away, as he has just barely arrived in this new era and is still getting adjusted).

The crew are bored with the propect of the moon, despite Fry’s enthusiasm for it, as by this point it is basically only inhabited by a corny and artificial theme park. Essentially, the Moon (of such mystery to someone like Fry of our era) has been reduced for the year-3000 era folks to little more than a “big, dull rock” only a hop and a skip (all of two seconds, in the episode) away. Historical signifigance is always a fragile thing, especially when tourists show up.

The idea behind the humor here being that the Moon, which Fry describes as a “romantic, mysterious thing…hanging up in the sky where you could never reach it, no matter how much you wanted to”, could very easily (and probably will) be reduced to commonplace, or something otherwise less than the mystique it carries now. This could actually potentially happen for society within the next 100 years, or sooner, at the rate at which we are progressing; the generation of kids growing up now (and this era in general) has a similar shift in perspective already going.

The episode has Fry getting frustrated with the theme park on the moon (“Great and all, but it’s all just so artifical…you might as well have just stayed on Earth”), and convincing his colleagues to escape with him to the surface, where they promptly get lost, eventually rediscovering the ‘long lost’ original lunar landing site by accident and then getting back home.

Hopelessly lost on the surface, Fry’s captain (Leela) is less than amused by it, though in the end, her seeing an Earthrise with Fry warms her to the idea of the Moon’s value and beauty outside of what her era built on it.

In the end, Leela asks Fry: “So Fry…is the real moon anything like the moon you used to dream about?”

Fry’s response, after their brief adventure on the surface?

“Eh, close enough.” :)

You could say ‘only time will tell’ what the grandchildren of the teens and 20-somethings of today will have as their image of the moon and its experiences, but in reality, we do have some power over this, and it’s largely up to the developers of today to decide what the moon will be like for the folks of tomorrow. :)

MoonPop: "Earth vs. Moon" April 12, 2008

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This edition of MoonPop comes right from the headlines of Hollywood.

This past Tuesday, it was announced that a pitch called “Earth vs. Moon” was picked up by Universal for “mid-to-high six figures”, which is pretty good for what amounts to an idea. The two writers (and executive producers) of the project, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, have the interesting combination of experience of Emmy-winning TV news work and “Monsters, Inc.” (with their main previous collabaration being “The Joe Schmo Show”).

While the plot’s still under wraps, it sounds like something in the vein of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (itself to be an extensive MoonPop feature in the next few months). While I doubt the potential of this as a ‘quality film’ per se, what’s significant is the amount of money paid for this pitch, and the general timing.

This film will probably be released around 2010-2011 as an early guess on my part, right around the time Celestis’s human remains on the moon project is projected to have had at least one trip/attempt. One could theorize that the reason four studios were in a bidding war for this pitch was not the quality of the idea on its own merits, but that the interest is based on the idea that the film could capitalize on a surge of public interest in the concept of moon colonization and integration (with such dramatic and public efforts as Celestis‘ in the news every day).

Movie marketing is rarely based on quality, and more on public brand recognition. If something’s in the news everday, and it captures the public’s fancies in a way that, say, the Iraq war doesn’t, a fun film on the subject could tap into something in the minds of moviegoers, while also cashing in on an established and visible entertainment genre at the same time.

So while that Hollywood Reporter article on a film with no revealed plot (other than a very telling title) may seem minor and unassuming, it could say a lot about what the pop culture is thinking about this era as it develops into its adolesence.

MoonPop: "Tonight, Tonight" April 5, 2008

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With 3:45 AM being my first chance ‘today’ to post, it’s a great time for the first edition of MoonPop, a series of regular features on pieces of pop culture (asteroids in the great Milky Way of our fancies) that feature looks at Moon Colonization/Integration.

For this first edition: The legendary video for the Smashing Pumpkins tune “Tonight, Tonight”, featuring a Melies-style adventure besetting some would-be Moon Tourists.

Step aboard, slink back into the sounds, and enjoy this miniature Voyage to the Moon: