Science fiction

I love a good science fiction film, but there are things that always puzzle me. Here are a couple.

Why do doors on spacecraft nearly always open automatically? Are crewmen so lazy they cannot open a door?

Yes, I know it’s a lift really, but pictures of people walking through doors are not that interesting

The spacecraft we have had so far in realy have had a problem – weight. Every gram of excess weight needs more fuel. Most of the Saturn V rocket was designed to lift, well, itself. The payload was minute. Surely, excess weight for door opening motors would be avoided at all costs.

And have you noticed, when people want locked doors to open they shoot them with ray guns? And when they want them to lock, they shoot them with ray guns.

And what about transporters? They are amazing things. They are machines that take every molecule of an animate or inanimate object and transfer them instantly to another place where they are reassembled perfectly (except when the plot demands they are not working properly) without mixing them up.

The destination doesn’t even have to be another transporter machine. People just appear anyway (or disappear) from thin air. In fact, you can transport from one place without a transporter to another without a transporter. That’s a miracle.

And they must be so deadly accurate, to within the tiniest fraction of an atom. If a person is being transported onto a surface and is just a little bit too low, their molecules will meld with the molecules of the floor and they will be stuck. Too high above the surface and they will fall the last distance and possibly be hurt.

Zeta One

One of the worst films I think I have ever seen is a late 1960s British B movie called Zeta One. It ‘stars’ Charles Hawtrey, James Robertson Justice, Dawn Addams and very many other recognisable faces.

The plot is, um, a bit hard to follow. There is a secret agent who is playing strip poker with his workmate. He is telling her of a race of superwomen who may be aliens and who are kidnapping other women. Oh look, read about it yourself.

There’s plenty of female softcore nudity from people like Carol Hawkins (ex Please Sir!) and some a very great deal of nipple pastie work from Valere Leon (ex Carry Ons…) and others.

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Richard Williams

The death was announced last week of one of my cinema heroes, Richard Williams.

Williams was born in Canada but lived and worked nearly all his life in the UK. He used to have his headquarters in Soho Square in London. Am not sure if it is still there.

You will know Mr Williams’ work. He has produced some very famous animation over the years, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and credits for many feature films, including some Pink Panthers and The Charge of the Light Brigade.

I have seen Mr W several times at the NFT in conversation about his work. The last time wa maybe a year or so ago. He was there to show his big project, an animated full length film variously called The Thief, The Thief and the Cobbler, The Princess and the Cobbler…

This is/was a kind of Arabian Nights type story, and has one of the most longwinded and troubled production histories of any film. You can read all about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thief_and_the_Cobbler

The chances of a final, definitive version appearing seem slight.