Tag Archives: Science fiction

THE HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL (2014)

The History of Time TravelTHE HISTORY OF TIME TRAVEL (2014) – This is not a bad movie, it’s simply a weird movie and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s a low-budget affair done as a faux documentary and since those have been done to death this film has not gotten the kind of attention it deserves.   

Writer and director Ricky Kennedy has managed to combine the fake documentary approach with well-established time travel motifs to tell a story that is so touching I was literally in tears at the end. I’m not going Kevin “The Kryer” Smith on you readers, I’m just saying that if you pay attention to the tale unfolding in this enjoyable but challenging movie you can’t help but feel very moved.

The emotional impact has caused me to elevate The History of Time Travel above my previous favorite time travel film, Primer. Just like Primer, this Ricky Kennedy creation requires a viewer’s full attention to be appreciated. If you’re not in the mood to devote as much focus to THOTT as you would to reading a book then save it for a time when you ARE in such a mood.

The movie begins as a seemingly straightforward documentary about a scientist who pioneered actual time travel but that’s just the narrative device for examining the way time travel would enable changes to “history” without the larger world even being aware of what changes have been made. And yes, I know plenty of time travel stories have addressed such issues but THOTT combines it with a powerful emotional punch that sets it apart. Continue reading

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MAY THE FOURTH-A-PALOOZA: STAR WARS ITEMS

Mascot sword and pistolMay the Fourth is upon us once again. First up are some links to my previous Star Wars blog posts plus my full-length review of The Jet Benny Show, a Star Wars parody.

STAR WARS MEETS THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: THE MICRONAUTS – Click  HERE

THE HUMANOID (1979): THE WORST STAR WARS RIPOFF EVER – Click HERE

MY REVIEWS OF THE LAST JEDI AND SOLO – Click HERE 

STAR WARS SPOILERS – Click HERE

STAR WARS SPOILERS PART TWO – Click HERE 

Jet Benny ShowTHE JET BENNY SHOW (1986) – Buy this for the Star Wars fan in your life … but only if you strongly dislike the Star Wars fan in your life. Buy this for the Jack Benny fan in your life … but only if they’re too old and feeble to be capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm on you.

I was glad to finally see this video curiosity after having heard tantalizingly little about it over the years. It was not remotely worth the wait but it was good to see it and check it off my list, bird-watcher style, like I did with Ganjasaurus Rex years ago.

Yes, I know this overlong, under-entertaining Star Wars/ Jack Benny Show parody won a Kasdan Award in the 1980s but I think that winning that award says less about this project than does the fact that the people involved went on to do virtually nothing else afterward.

Jet Benny Show backRoger Evans directed The Jet Benny Show from a script by Mark Felch. Steve Norman stars as Jet Benny, a take-off on the real-life comedy legend Jack Benny. Norman does not do nearly as good a Jack Benny impression as we’re led to believe by the few positive remarks this pant-load of a film receives.

Steve’s rendition of Benny’s voice is reasonable but wouldn’t stand on its own without the aid of his more than reasonable facial resemblance to the late comedian. The mediocre nature of Norman’s imitation might not have stood out so much if he wasn’t expected to carry almost every moment of the 77 minute run time. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS – CHAPTER LINKS

Tom Fleming WarlockAdam Warlock, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes who are not that well known to the public at large right now, will probably be a household word soon like just about every other Marvel character who gets thrown at the big and small screens.

At this point if Marvel tried launching film versions of It, The Living Colossus or Fin Fang Foom they’d probably take over Kaiju leadership from Japan & Godzilla. Recently Balladeer’s Blog did an examination of The Magus, the seven-part 1975-1976 Adam Warlock story by Jim Starlin. If you missed it here are chapter links:

Magus 1PART ONE – ENTER: THE MAGUS – Includes my quick recap of Adam Warlock’s fictional history from 1967 to 1975, including his encounters with the Fantastic Four, Thor and the Incredible Hulk.

Then it’s on to Adam’s first clash with the galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth and the mad god it worships – the Magus. CLICK HERE 

Magus Part TwoPART TWO: DEATH SHIP – Adam Warlock gains a new ally in Pip the Troll when he is taken captive by the Church’s starship The Great Divide.

While participating in a prisoner uprising to seize the vessel he also learns more about the atrocities perpetrated on over a thousand worlds by the Magus and his Universal Church of Truth. CLICK HERE   

GamoraPART THREE: THE TRIAL OF ADAM WARLOCK – *** FIRST EVER APPEARANCE OF GAMORA *** Overcoming even more Black Knights of the Church and another battle with the Soul Gem, Warlock at last confronts the Matriarch, the worldly leader of the Universal Church of Truth.

She puts Adam on trial for heresy as part of her plan to seize control of the Church from the Magus. CLICK HERE

Magus fourPART FOUR: ONE THOUSAND CLOWNS – Pip the Troll and Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, try to free Adam Warlock from the Pit of the Sacred Palace.

Meanwhile our hero resists the Matriarch’s surreal attempts to indoctrinate him into the Universal Church of Truth. CLICK HERE   

Magus 5PART FIVE: THE INFINITY EFFECT – Face to face with the real form of the Magus, Adam Warlock learns the horrific fate that lies ahead for him as he will transform into the Church’s god while being tortured over a period of 5,000 years.

Gamora’s mysterious secret is revealed. CLICK HERE

Magus 6PART SIX: THE REDEMPTION PRINCIPLE – While evading the Black Knights of the Church Adam, Gamora and Pip encounter the dying Matriarch.

Thanos reveals Gamora’s mind-bending, paradoxical origin and the In-Betweener draws ever closer in order to steal away Warlock and transform him into the Magus. CLICK HERE

Magus 7PART SEVEN: HOW STRANGE MY DESTINY – The story’s final mind-boggling developments unfold as Adam Warlock struggles to fight his fate.

Plus Thanos’ real motives for helping our hero are revealed in the final battles with the Magus, his Black Knights and the cosmic being called the In-Betweener. CLICK HERE  

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS – CONCLUSION

Adam WarlockConcluding Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus 7PART SEVEN (Conclusion)

Warlock #11 (February 1976)

Title: HOW STRANGE MY DESTINY

Synopsis: Resuming where we left off, the Magus (Adam Warlock’s vile future self and the self-proclaimed god worshipped by the galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth) has created a teleportational rift leading from the Sacred Palace of the Church to the interior of Thanos’ space station called Sanctuary.

magus on throneThrough that rift the Magus leads General Egeus and the entire army of the Black Knights of the Church, super-powered beings from countless planets never before featured in Marvel Comics up to this point. (This makes them forerunners of the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard over at The Uncanny X-Men.)

ThanosWe readers know from the end of the previous installment that the Magus suspected that Thanos wanted him to attack, since he had dropped Sanctuary‘s defensive shields. However, even if he’s playing into the Mad Titan’s hands, the Magus had no alternative but to attack since his viewscreens showed him that Thanos and Warlock were about to use a Time Probe to try and prevent the Magus from ever coming into being.

In-Betweener 2As the Magus and his Black Knights pour through the teleportational rift the self-proclaimed god orders his knights to kill Thanos, Gamora and Pip the Troll but leave Adam Warlock to him.

The villain intends to finish off Thanos if he can, but most importantly he needs for the battle to prevent Warlock from entering the Time Probe long enough for the In-Betweener to arrive and abduct Adam to his dimension. There, over the course of 5,000 years Warlock will be tortured into becoming the Magus.

As this final chapter opens we are told there is less than one Earth hour left before the In-Betweener arrives. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART SIX

magus on throneBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus 6PART SIX

Warlock #10 (December 1975)

Title: THE REDEMPTION PRINCIPLE

NOTE: This installment of The Magus features what the late Stan Lee might have called “the senses-shattering ORIGIN of GAMORA!!!”

Synopsis: We are rapidly approaching the final installment of Jim Starlin’s masterful hybrid of Young Adult Science Fiction and superhero story. Recapping last issue’s mind-boggling developments regarding Adam Warlock and his vile future self the Magus would require several hundred words, thus blocking the dramatic flow, so I will simply pepper in relevant details as needed.

Adam WarlockWe pick up right where we left off last time: Room #7, Sub-Level 2 of the Sacred Palace, headquarters of the Magus’ galaxy-spanning Universal Church of Truth. The Magus, that Church’s self-proclaimed god, not only defeated Warlock and Pip the Troll but also thwarted Gamora’s attempt to kill him with her God-Slayer Knife.

Gamora’s mysterious (to 1975 readers) master turned out to be Thanos, not as dead as the Avengers thought he was at the end of the Thanos War in July of 1974. Thanos teleported himself to Gamora’s side to continue trying to prevent the Magus (a potential rival) from ever existing (see the previous installment).

GamoraThe Magus had left Room #7, Sub-Level 2 after defeating Adam, Gamora and Pip, and thus is not aware that Thanos is involved. With Gamora’s interference having already altered the Magus’ past as he remembered experiencing it as Adam Warlock, the mad “deity” sent a legion of his Black Knights of the Church to attack the survivors in Room #7, Sub-Level 2 to prevent any further significant changes. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART FIVE

Adam WarlockBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus 5PART FIVE

Warlock #9 (October, 1975)

Title: THE INFINITY EFFECT

NOTE: The first four installments of The Magus were successful enough for Marvel Comics to re-launch Adam Warlock’s solo series. The previous chapters were published at Strange Tales and this 5th part resumed the Warlock comic book beginning with number 9. The first run of Adam’s solo series ended with number 8 back in October 1973 during his Counter-Earth adventures.  

Infinity EffectSynopsis: We pick up immediately where we left off. Adam Warlock, Gamora and Pip the Troll have at last come face to face with the REAL form of Adam’s future self, the Magus, instead of the misleading “green like the Soul Gem” disguise he had been hiding behind.

Confusion is still in the air, because though the Magus is Warlock’s future self, his Universal Church of Truth was formed to worship him as its god 5,000 years ago. The explanation for that is at last forthcoming in this Timey Wimey chapter.

Pip comments on the way the Magus in his real form looks just like Adam except for being purplish-gray and having “an electro hair-do” as the Troll calls the Magus’ White Guy Afro. The Magus dismisses Pip as a fleabag, rises from his throne and says that the difference is far more profound than that. He is what “this golden butterfly” (Adam) will become.

Tom Fleming WarlockThe villain further states that he is what the forces of Chaos and Order have decreed that Warlock will become. NOTE: This carries over Jim Starlin’s use (in Captain Marvel’s comic book) of Chaos and Order as his William Blake-styled personifications of cosmic forces beyond human understanding. Starlin had Chaos and Order and their subordinate entities “upgrade” the Kree Captain Mar-Vell to help him against Thanos in the original 1970s Thanos War, covered in 2017 here at Balladeer’s Blog.  

Adam calls the Magus a cancer for the way his tyrannical  Universal Church of Truth has enslaved or obliterated countless planets, all just to further the Magus’ desire to become the only god worshipped anywhere. The Magus taunts Warlock and in response Adam attacks his future self. Continue reading

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ADAM WARLOCK: THE MAGUS, PART FOUR

GamoraBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of another old, old, OLD Marvel Comics hit continues. This one was written AND drawn by Jim Starlin. (The overrated and over-praised Alan Moore only writes, doesn’t draw.) 

FOR PART ONE PLUS A RECAP OF ADAM WARLOCK’S FICTIONAL HISTORY CLICK HERE

Magus fourPART FOUR

Strange Tales #181 (August 1975)

Title: 1,000 CLOWNS

NOTE: Jim Starlin dedicated this issue to Steve Ditko, “Who gave us all a different reality” and it’s drawn largely in the style of Ditko’s early Doctor Strange stories.

Get ready for “Adam Warlock Meets The Prisoner.” The title 1,000 Clowns is obviously a reference to the Herb Gardner play (and later movie) A Thousand Clowns. Gardner’s play dealt with a happy non-conformist forced to try to fit in with “normal”, conventional society for family reasons. 

The title and the theme of nonconformity may come from Gardner’s play but Jim Starlin writes this installment of The Magus almost as if it’s an episode of the 1967 Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner (previously examined here at Balladeer’s Blog). Adam’s resistance to conditioning by the Universal Church of Truth puts one in mind of the Prisoner’s resistance to the Villagekeepers. The surreal, off-kilter presentation is also reminiscent of that program.   

Adam WarlockSynopsis: Adam Warlock has come to after his lapse into unconsciousness caused by the trauma of his Soul Gem’s theft of Kray-Tor’s soul at the end of last issue. He has awakened into a bizarre alternate reality with walkways and small islands of matter floating in an endless sky. Bizarre symbols and designs ornament the skyscape like imagery from an acid trip. Continue reading

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