ZOMBIES!! MARTIANS!! SAME THING!!

Boy, I love zombies.  So much so that I can’t wait for the new season of The Walking Dead, starting this Sunday.  I’m really excited to see if they can continue the momentum that the show built at the end of last season, especially since A) they’re moving into what I call the “good part” of the story from the amazing comic series. Sure, there have been some discrepancies in the television version, but the basic plot lines are fairly intact, and B) the first half of last season was fairly lackluster.  Enough with the fucking farm already.

You know who’s NOT in the house? Fucking Carl, that’s who.

But I digress.

Zombies have taken over the public subconscious so much that it’s almost a running joke.  When you’re at the hardware store with a buddy to pick up a new Estwing roofing hammer, you will invariably pass some sort of garden implement or power tool that will cause one of you to remark “Heh…this would be pretty handy in the zombie apocalypse, eh?”  It’s like we all know it’s coming, so we just try and stay as prepared as possible, except that, you know, IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.  And if it did happen, Cracked actually outlined how quickly it would fail in this article.   Of course, they double-down and tell you exactly how it could happen here.

Why all the zombie stuff? And to be clear, I’m including the non-traditional style 28 Days Later-style outbreaks in this discussion.  Why now?  Why zombies and not killing machines, like the Terminator?  (Heads-up: all this will change once Spielberg’s adaptation of the incredible “Robopocalypse” novel hits theaters in 2014.  Then, lookout, zombies: there’s a new boogeyman in town.)

One word: Martians.

Pictured: the face of national paranoia as experienced during the House Un-American Activities Committee campaign.

“Wait,” you say to me, holding your hand out in the classic ‘stop’ position. “Martians ain’t zombies.  Unless it’s some B-movie hybrid from the mind of Ed Wood, Jr. or on SyFy.”  True, but you see, the modern zombie infestation is exactly the same as the martian threat of yesteryear.  Why?  Because they are both the analog, the manifestation if you will, of our modern-day fears.
Back in the post-WWII days in the early 50’s, there was something weighing heavily on the minds of every American citizen: hot atomic death at the hands of the damned Communists. This spawned a bunch of “atomic monster” movies, like “THEM!” which were actually really fucking good. (Also, the only country ever nuked…twice…churned out a shload of these films, beginning with the classic “Gojira.”  Not that we should feel guilty about all that unpleasantness.)

Japan has managed to even the score, however, with a metric shit-ton of unsettling weird shit.

Hiding, sneaking behind the obvious “Oh, god!!  Nuclear bombs!” threat was the more sinister, lurking threat of invasion.  Not the obvious “Red Dawn” style invasion, but the subversive “get your kids to like Socialism” sort of invasion.  McCarthyism had everyone checking on their neighbors, and paranoia was rampant.  Movies like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Invaders From Mars” played on that subconscious fear:  My God, what if the new guy at work is one of THEM!?!  They look like us and act like us, but something is just…off.  It was a trend that eventually evolved and sometimes even questioned the logic of this nationwide witch-hunt for Commies.  Films like “It Came From Outer Space” made us look in the mirror a little bit.  See, in that film the “alien menace” was just an alien whose ship had crashed and the alien dude was just trying to fix it up so he could go home.  Eventually this sort of theme carried over into more modern films like “E.T.” and “Super 8” where they actually go so far as to make the Big Military/Government Machine look like the bad guys.

Not cool, internet. NOT. COOL.

Which brings us to now.  “28 Days Later” premiered in 2002, almost a year after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.  If you haven’t seen the movie, a guy wakes out of a coma to find the world he knew to be a desolate place filled with formerly-normal humans filled with hate and rage, intent on killing. Every time you get rid of one of ’em, there seems to be a thousand of them right behind, willing to do whatever it takes to end the lives of peaceful humans.

Huh.

Lighthearted fare like “Zombieland” would come later, along with the big-budget remake of “Dawn of the Dead” and the comic/graphic novels like “The Walking Dead” plus a billion other shoddy zombie flicks.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present the theory (I’m surely not the first) that the recent zombie-hype has been driven largely by the national panic and paranoia that has existed in some form since 9/11.  Sure, once a couple of films made money, Hollywood decided to churn out as much similar product as possible.  That’s normal.  But beyond that, there is a whole sub-culture of zombie jokes, zombie costumes, zombie video games, zombie ammunition (it should really be billed as ANTI-zombie ammunition, but whatever) and so on.  Think about the last week that went by that you didn’t see/hear/read some sort of zombie reference.  Impossible since 9/11. This wave of shambling undead has even infected hyped-up news stories like the infamous “Bath Salts Zombies” this past summer. How often did zombies get mentioned before that fateful day in Septmber eleven years ago?  Um..maybe when you played Resident Evil?

Admit it, you shit your pants the first time this happened.

Let’s go back to that video game idea.  The Resident Evil franchise was huge, beginning with the original Playstation One game and seemingly a dozen sequels. But that was pretty much it.  Now you have Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Dead Rising, and the “zombie mode” add-ons and DLC for every single first-person shooter on the market today.  Wow.  We got kinda carried away, didn’t we, folks?  Several video game reviewers have mentioned that zombies are perfect video game fodder.  Before zombies took over, the only “safe” bad guy in games and movies was Nazi Germany. But even then, either someone had to be the Nazis in multiplayer (which still feels weird to me) or you had to gloss over the fact that these soldiers might not be rank-and-file Aryans, but maybe conscripts from Poland who just want to live to see their families again.  (I tend to over-think the character-development of video game figures.)  Zombies?  Hell, they’re already dead!  Blow their fuckin’ heads off!

Full disclosure: I just couldn’t go an entire blog without some sort of Star Trek reference.

As we move further and further away from the events of 9/11, I’m sure the zombie trend will lose its luster.  Even now, kids don’t have any idea how or why 9/11 happened.  They just know that it’s fun to watch zombies’ arms fall off.  They don’t understand the feeling of vulnerability, like every time you get on that public transportation there might be death waiting for you at the end of your ride.  The all-encompassing fear of the unknown, that your life could end at any moment, at the hands of an enemy you never saw until it was too late.  They don’t get why we sometimes feel like zombies ourselves, so much cattle shuffling through the line at the TSA gate. It’s lost on them.  Perhaps it’s the same way most of you feel when you watch “Independence Day.”  You’ve never lived under the long, cold shadow of impending doom at the hands of the USSR and their millions of megatons of thermonuclear holocaust aimed right at the heart of the good ol’ U-S-of-A.  You just want to see the good guys beat the crap out of the bad guys and maybe see some really cool explosions.  Fair enough.  I’m happy for you.  You get to enjoy those themes without a context.  A new generation of kids has lived safely and securely in the days since September 11th and has no reason to flinch at the specter of a jet airplane on approach that seems to be a little too close to the ground.  They don’t turn a wary eye to the somewhat ethnic guy reading a newspaper at the airport with one earbud in, listening to…something. They live in a world without fear, except those damn zombies on the eighth wave on COD.  Those suckers are brutal!!

Seriously, guys? Did you just re-skin an old Terminator game? Because that’s totally what it looks like.

And you know what?  Good for them.  Because one day their world will be shaken, and some new multi-media meme or theme will crop up and they’ll get to explain to their kids why it’s so poignant and scary. The robot uprising.  It’s coming, man.  It’s coming.

(Seriously, though. Read this book.)

Incredibly Distracting…

Hey, gang!  It seems I’m blogging in fits and starts of late.  Sort of catch-as-catch-can, if you will. (That’s for you long-time readers!)  Sorry about the inconsistency.  Trying to get back into the rhythm of blogging, even though I am currently distracted by Rush playing tonight in Indianapolis.  In fact, I just heard “Mystic Rhythms” in my head as I typed that.  Damn it.

 

Anyway, today’s blog will be a quick one, and basically only exists to introduce you to something.  Like the spectre of Dave Bowman said in 2010, “Something wonderful.”  See, there’s this guy.  We’ll just call him “Vex.”  He’s an old-school geek like me, even though that word (geek) has been somewhat over-used of late.  The fact remains:  Vex and are are about a year apart age-wise and have similar tastes.  For example, he and I enjoy repeated viewings of “Buckaroo Banzai” and “Real Genius” for starters.  Recently, Vex read a book that I’d checked out last year called “Ready Player One.”  Here’s the site for said book:

http://www.readyplayerone.com/

 

Anyway, everyone told me the novel seemed to be  written with me in mind.  It’s chock-full of old-school computer game, comic, RPG (that’s Role Playing Games, not Rocket Propelled Grenade) and sci-fi references.  I found it  entertaining but, well…not the absolute greatest thing ever.  It was okay, and miles ahead of crap like the “Big Bang Theory.”  Vex, however, found it to be the epiphany he’d been waiting for, and went on to create his own game based loosely on the parameters set forth in “Ready…”  And he’s done a bang-up job.  Hell, the only thing missing is an OASIS rig, and I’ll bet Sexy Vexy is working on that as I write this.  I’m having a lot of fun with this little trivia endeavor.  So much so that I’m thinking of re-reading the book. And so much so that I’m about to do the worst thing (for me) possible:  give you the website and leaderboard so that you, too, can get in on the fun.  Why is this bad for me?  BECAUSE I WANT TO WIN, GODDAMMIT!!  The more people who play, the less my odds of winning.

Now, when you check out the scores, you’ll be intimidated.  Don’t be.  I was totally stuck on the first question until my lovely wife gave me a different perspective.  Now we’re only a little bit behind, and you can catch up FAST in this game.  yes, you may team up.  Yes, you can share with other players…but that is terribly risky.  Will others burn you to get ahead?  Absolutely.  That’s part of the fun.

Ain’t gonna stay this way for long.

 

So without further ado…strap on your haptic rig and follow this link.  And good luck. Any spare resources your mind had available are now considered forfeit.

 

http://poptopiamadness.com/

I Want ANSWERS!!!

Last night my Sweet Baby (the lovely Heidi L. Watson, pictured) and I sat down to watch “The Hunger Games.”

Mmmmm!! Hot wife alert!

Heidi had already seen it, but thought I’d enjoy it, so I Redboxed that shit and away we went to cinemaland right in the comfort of our own home!  And it was a decent flick.  I won’t do a full review because you either already know all about it or don’t give a shit.  But I will say that it was a film that had the effect of being better as a whole than it was while watching it.  In other words, it was like I was holding my breath for complete greatness through the whole thing and felt like it never quite got there, but then as the credits rolled at the conclusion of the film, I found myself wishing for more.  I wanted to know what happened next, and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you launch a successful franchise.  But I had a few questions, none more glaring than this: (KIND OF SPOILER-Y STUFF AHEAD.  Nothing major, but you’ve been told.)

One of these two doesn’t make it. I TOLD YOU!! SPOILERS!!

In the film, the “Show” has a bunch of producers and is done on this futuristic soundstage/holodeck construct.  And the directors can add trees, fire, daylight, or rampaging, wild, Zuul-like dog-beast things to the mix to make life more difficult to the contestants.  Based on this technology (in the film: I’ve never read the book series) they can whip up whatever they want at the push of a button.  Cool!  Okay then, here’s my problem:  WHY DON’T THEY WHIP UP SOME FOOD FOR EVERYBODY?!? For God’s sake, there are people starving to death out there in the Districts!

Scotty accidentally typed NON-Scottish food, and, well…

“Wait, that’s the whole POINT!” you argue.  “The Capitol wants to keep the people hungry and subdued.  Sure, they could make a bunch of bison or something for the people to butcher and eat, but then they wouldn’t be all…uh, hungry…and, uh, restless.  They’d be more docile, like full-bellied people tend to be, so…wait…wow!  You’re right!  A poor, hungry populace breeds discontent and resentment for those that have more…so, yeah.  Okay, Turner.  You’re right again.  YOU’RE ALWAYS SO DAMNED RIGHT ALL THE TIME!!”
I know, child.  I know.  Or, how about this?  Let the people die and whip up some virtual miners to get the coal (seriously?  They still mine coal?  WTF?!?) or even a constructed army to keep the people in line.  It just seems like they’re using this technology all wrong, that’s all.  And if these animals and such aren’t real at all, just super-realistic holograms, then…then how do they kill people?  Is it like the Matrix?  In other words, if you believe this weird wasp thing has stung you with psychedelic venom,then your brain “makes it real” with honest-to-God bad trips and night sweats?  Okay.  Whatever.

I AM WILLIAM RIKER, AND I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!!

But I have a few more general, non-Katniss-related questions…

Like, why didn’t Wile E. Coyote just order a goddam pizza already?  He’s a scrawny dog living in the desert, and yet he has ordered from ACME supply company the following items:  a rocket.  Roller skates.  Bird feed.  Iron buck shot.  A super-sized magnet. A “Bat Man” outfit (copyright lawyers had to be ALL OVER that one.) Etc.  Um, order up some MRE’s or something, dude.  Let the bird go.  (Another theory: the RoadRunner is either a hallucination born of starvation or a digital construct, and Wile E. is actually a tribute from District 4.)

MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!!

Why does a gynecologist (or any doctor, really) leave the room while you get undressed?  I mean…they’re going to see the good stuff anyway.  Also, how many times a year does an attractive female doctor have to deal with erections while either checking for hernias or testicular anomalies in men?  And the PROSTATE?! Fuggetaboutit! Like a phalanx of man-wood each year!

Pictured: NOT a real doctor.

How much wood COULD a woodchuck chuck?  And why?

Even better? How much Woodchuck could a woodchuck CHUG?!?

Finally, why can’t I get the theme from the 2009 Star Trek movie out of my head?  Seriously…it’s omnipresent. (Actually, I already know the answer.  It’s because Michael Giacchino is an amazing composer, that’s why.  Gott DAMN!!  He’s done everything from “The Incredibles” to “Super 8.” Check out his work HERE.) Also?  I think it’s time to write another Star Trek-themed blog.  Like I haven’t just kinda done that.

Your Homework Assignment

I’m happy to say that this here blog is now read by dozens…literally dozens of actual, literal human beings.  One of my responsibilities, nay…one of my dearest pleasures is turning people on to stuff they might not have fancied, like pomades and fashion or chicks from eighties movies And I figured now was as good a time as any to let you in on a few of the greatest movies of all time. Of all time. (Get used to italics, because I’m in a slanty-typin’ mood, bitches.)

I also need to clarify something right away.  When I say “greatest movies of all time” I do NOT mean “best movies of all time.”  Not even close, in some cases.  But they are movies that when I find myself flipping channels and stumble across them, I’m hooked.  Done, for the duration.  Don’t care if there’s only twenty minutes (including commercials) left in the damned showing.  I’m not going anywhere. And to be even more accurate in my description, some of these flicks are what many reviewers would term “absolute crap.”  But they’re so very dear to me.  So here’s your assignment, class:  watch each and every one of these before the end of the month.  Already seen ’em all?  Watch ’em AGAIN, damn you! In no particular order, then…

Big Trouble in Little China

This is the first of two John Carpenter-Kurt Russell collaborations on my list.  And easily the most-quotable.  Carpenter and leading man Kurt Russell did some amazing things in the 80’s, like “Escape From New York.”  In fairness, they also did “Escape From LA” so nobody’s perfect. But this movie is so goddam epic, it inspired at least one major video game character.  True.  Ever play Mortal Kombat?  You know Raiden (or later “Rayden”)?  The guy in the coolie hat that wields lightning? The designers of that game admitted that they designed the character after one of the Three Storms in Big Trouble in Little China.  Did you know that WWE superstar CM Punk wore Jack Burton’s famous Chinese-motif tank top into the ring for the Halloween 2011 RAW SuperShow?  The point is, the influences for this gem, which only grossed $11 million at the box office (it cost $25 million to make) reverberate to this day.  There is no cooler idiot than Russell’s Jack Burton, and no better blend of over-the-top Asian martial arts and truck-driving, mulleted hilarity.  Own it if you can.

SEGA!!

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

People complain about product placement in modern films, but Jesus, this whole damned MOVIE was essentially a commercial for motorcycles and cigarettes.  I mean, it’s in the stinkin’ TITLE!! Except that Don Johnson’s character doesn’t even smoke, even though he has a cigarette dangling from his mouth through most of the movie.  This one was more of a box-office disappointment than “…Little China” making only $7 million in 1991.  That’s not a typo.  Not seventeen million.  Seven million.  Ouch.  But, like the previous movie on this list, it found a cult following thanks to DVD and Spike TV.  Set in the then-future of 1996, the world is a mess.  The ozone layer is depleted, gas is $4 a gallon, and there’s a new drug on the streets being peddled by Tom Sizemore. Damn, if they’d only pushed it back another ten years, the movie would be scarily accurate.  Anyway, it’s got great one-liners, Mickey Rourke, and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”  ‘Nuff said.

Oh, Mickey. What happened, dude?

Point Break

If there’s a movie on this list that you’ve likely seen, it’s this one.  So go watch it again already.  I’ll just leave you with this: UTAH!  GET ME TWO!!

RIP, Angelo Pappas (Oops! Spoiler alert!)

Buckaroo Banzai

Technically, the full title is “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension.”  See, they figured this would be a smash and they’d have a whole franchise of Peter Weller not being Robocop and instead running all over Earth, time, and the heavens like a super-powered Doctor Who only with a jet car instead of some lame police call box. They were wrong.  Pity, that. Why is Weller’s Buckaroo one of my personal heroes? Um, he’s a brilliant physicist, neurosurgeon, and rock band frontman.  SUCK IT, BRUCE WAYNE!!  Clancy Brown, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, a cameo by Yakov Smirnoff and another by Billy Fucking Vera and the amazing legs of Ellen Barkin (her red dress is proof that God loves us)…there’s nothing not to like about this movie.  It’s a lot to assimilate all at once, and yes, it’s hard sometimes to tell if it’s a straight-up parody or an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tour de force.  Doesn’t matter.  When you’ve got lines like “Evil, pure and simple, from the Right Dimension!” you just roll with it.

Reason number 13,445 to be envious of Al Pacino

The Thing

One of the best science-fiction scary movies ever.  EVER.  Between 1979’s “Alien” and 1982’s “The Thing” science fiction did what it does best.  Not commenting on the cold, vast emptiness of space and what wonders might be found there, but on real-life issues, like the then very real Cold War paranoia that affected everyone in the United States. This John Carpenter masterpiece works on every level, from Ennio Morricone’s (NOT, for once, Carpenter himself’s)  theme music…a steady thrumming that builds tension from start to finish…to the old-school special effects by Rob Bottin which not only hold up well today, they’re actually more frightening than the CGI crap you see nowadays.  If you can, watch this film in the middle of a blizzard at night.  Fuck, that’s good.

IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!! (See what I did there?)

The Trek Wars

Well, here we go, gang. Recently there’s been a bit of a feud between the Star Wars and Star Trek camps. There’s always been a bit of good-natured rivalry here, but with William Shatner and Carrie Fisher going after each other in YouTube videos and such, well…it’s getting kind of ugly. It took the amazing George Takei’s call to solidarity against the Twilight franchise to cool things down. Yep, good ol’ George is like the Gandhi of Sci-Fi. (Only with a better diet, natch.)

The two sides will never see eye-to-eye. It’s natural: Marvel and DC people or Sean Connery and Roger Moore fans have passionate opinions on their favorites, and I won’t even get into how much better Crystal Skull was than Temple of Doom. (Oh, yes. I went there.) But these sort of passions run all the hotter when you’re talking about the two greatest franchises in Sci-Fi history.

Why did this movie suck? Two guesses...

And make no mistake: that’s exactly what we’re dealing with here. TRON, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Farscape…none of them come close to not only the sheer amount of source material, but the number of hard-core fanboys and girls that literally worship at the altars of Roddenberry and Lucas. It’s almost scary. Think about how uncomfortable everyone would be if this same amount of reverence and fanaticism were present in SAW fans and Juggalos. Holy shit, I just started shaking just thinking about it. We’re lucky, people. We’re really lucky that the “Gathering of the Juggalos” is just a once-a-year camp-out concert in rural Illinois. Can you imagine “Jug-Con Sacramento?” George R.R. Martin, Felicia Day, and Wil Wheaton all showing up to chug Faygo and parade around in Jnco Jeans? Ffffffuuuu…

"Hey, everybody! Welcome to the panel on Magnets!"

So, yeah. Star Wars and Star Trek. The big boys. Title fight. And this rumble needs some handicapping to establish a clear winner. I’m going to go ahead and say that no matter which camp you belong to, I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that Star Wars is the clear-cut monetary champion. Hands-down. It’s not even close. Ever see a kid running around the house with his Captain Janeway action figure? No. No, you haven’t. Not that Trek is without merchandising potential…hell, there’ve been at least a couple of high-quality pornographic parodies. Prolly because there’s more sex in Trek. More on that later. Right now, we’re going to call Round One, otherwise known as The Money Round, to Star Wars. Ding!

Whoa, whoa, WHOA!!! Mark Ecko doesn't know the DIFFERENCE?!?!

Round two is all about cultural impact, and it’s also a doozy. In fact, the judges (which is me. I am the judges. All of ’em.) are calling this one a lot closer. It’s a helluva fight just based on catch-phrases alone. Use the force! Beam me up! I’ve got a bad feeling about this! Set phasers to “stun!” A galaxy far, far away…where no man has gone before! Live long and prosper! Punch it, Chewie! That’s no moon… Dammit, Jim, I’m a Doctor, not a magician!  It’s a TRAP! But again, Star Wars gets the edge. It’s a slight one, but it’s there. Know anyone with a Star Wars-themed tattoo? Sure you do. Even non-geeks get the Imperial or Rebellion logos…some get Yoda, lightsabers, Chewie, the Death Star, perhaps a Stormtrooper helmet. Hard-core types will get that made-up Jedi language or a Darth Maul backpiece. Now, do you know anyone with a Star Fleet tattoo? No? Scotty? Maybe a portrait of Kirk & Spock from the original series? Still no? Hmm. Okay, how about this test: using only your mouth, make a lightsaber noise. Now do a TIE fighter. Good. Try Chewie’s guttural growl followed by R2’s beeps and whistles. Outstanding. Now imitate a phaser set to “kill.” Go ahead. Any time now. We’re waiting. Okay, how about a photon torpedo? Easy! Do it, please. Now. Go. Not so easy, is it? No, it isn’t. Not because the bridge of the Enterprise doesn’t have a familiar thrum, or that the transporter beam isn’t immediately recognizable…it’s just that those things haven’t ever saturated the public consciousness. They haven’t been embraced wholeheartedly and re-sampled to the point of insertion into literally every other media. Sure, Spock’s “Fascinating” and “pure energy” made it into that one dance song…but beyond that, well…yeah. Ding.

This...this wasn't really a thing, was it?

So far, it looks like this fight is all Star Wars! But wait…what about the important stuff, like characters, story, and plot? Ah, NOW we’ve got a fight on our hands. Quick, who’s your favorite Jedi? It’s not Luke. Sure as hell ain’t Qui-Gonn. Mace Windu? Maybe. Okay, non-Jedi characters. Han. Boba Fett. Lando. Chewie. Vader. And, uh…Jimmy Smits? Some CG Gungan? Okay, look at the Star Trek crews(s)…Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Chekhov, Sulu, Uhura…Picard, Riker, Geordie, Data, Wesley, Worf, Troi…Captain Sisko…Nurse Chapel…Q…Jesus, what about the Voyager crew? The one with the holographic doctor? Dang. The point is, the Star Trek universe is just filled by more and better characters. Sure, Lucas only really made six (three) films and used those to build all the print and cartoon spin-offs. Meanwhile, there have been several Trek television series and a slew of movies. But the cool thing about Trek is how distinctly different and realistic the characters all are. In Star Wars, once you get past Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie…it thins wayyyy the fuck out. The droids are cool, Yoda is cute…but as kids, nobody wanted to be Grand Moff Tarkin or Admiral Ackbar. The majority of the secondary roles were bland and unexciting. It’s almost like Lucas would rather just insert some computer-generated place holders instead of actors! Oh. Oh, yeah…round three to Star Trek. Ding!

No, Cthulhu...THIS is the "Thing That Should Not Be."

Spoiler alert: this round is going to Star Trek.  Because it’s all about sex. Yep. Star Wars does have one ace up its sleeve.  Ever heard of the “Slave Leia” costume?  You GOD DAMN RIGHT YOU HAVE! It’s almost to the point of being over-exposed (pun intended.)  You can see this outfit at every. Convention. Ever.  And I mean you can see girls dressed as Slave Leia at the Progressive Insurance convention.  (Bad news?  It’s that Flo chick. But still…) Wil Wheaton went on record at Comic Con San Diego last year as saying  “Damn!  Slave Leia is sexy!” Okay, I made that quote up.  I just wanted to impress the Redditors and Big Bang Theory fans (LOVE you guys!)

...no. Please. No.

But beyond that one outfit from one small chunk of one movie, what does Star Wars offer us?  That time when Padme got her shirt ripped and we could see her taut, smooth midriff?  Not bad.  And then there was the time, that, uh…well, remember when…um…that one chick…oh.  Oh, yeah.  That’s about it.  Meanwhile, in the ‘Trek ‘verse they had AN ENTIRE RACE OF ALIEN WOMEN BRED AS SEX SLAVES.  You GOD DAMN RIGHT THEY DID!  Oh, and in the sexually-enlightened 60’s when the show first aired, it not only featured somewhat sexist mini-skirt and go-go boot uniforms for the female crew members, there was also the first-ever inter-racial kiss shown on primetime.  Star Trek cared less than the ol’ honey badger!  They just wanted to tell good stories!  And hot chicks? How about that smoking communications officer, Uhura?  Or the saucy Yeoman Rand, who was totally crushing on Kirk?  Or nurse Chapel?  Later on you had sexy redhead Dr. Beverly Crusher, sexy security officer Tasha Yar, and sort-of sexy medium or whatever Deanna Troi?  How about when Kirstie Alley was still sexy as Lt. Saavik in “Wrath of Khan?”  Seven of muhfuh NINE! Yes, sex was going on EVERYWHERE!  Picard and Crusher!  Data and Yar!  Riker and Troi!  Troi and Worf! Troi and the  Univeristy of North Dakota Fighting Sioux!  Kirk and every female from here to the Neutral Zone!  And yet, there’s this simple fact regarding sex in the Star Wars universe: the only couple we KNOW hooked up was Anakin and Padme.  Sure, we like to think that Han and Leia got busy…but we don’t know.  Lando should have been the pimp of the galaxy, but we never see him do more than kiss the hand of a Princess.  Yawn.  Ding!

It's the laurels. Bitches love laurels.

Finally, let’s looks at the philosophy of both these franchises.  Despite all the similarities, e.g. faster-than-light travel, beam weapons, alien species hanging with humans, AI companions, and exotic planets/landscapes, there is a bit of a gulf between the two philosophically.  Trek has always prided itself (sometimes TOO much) on how much of the show was based on “plausible science.” At least they try to give some sort of basis for the technology.  For example, the Warp Drive apparently runs on some sort of anti-matter channeled by dilithium crystals and whatnot.  Okay. In Star Wars, the hyperdrive make ships jump to light speed.  No further explanation needed. (We assume it has something to do with midichlorians.) In Star Trek, transporters break down the individual at a sub-atomic level and then re-assemble the parts at another location.  In Star Wars, well…they just fly everywhere.  It’s like Trek is New York with excellent mass transit systems, and Star Wars is L.A. where everyone takes their own car. And I think that’s the bottom line.  Each of these multi-media sci-fi empires is excellent.  They’re just different. Star Trek is science, Star Wars is magic.  One is Battlefield 3 and one is Modern Warfare 3.  College football or the NFL.  Coors Light and Miller Light.  Spring training or the World Series. Different, but good.  Both look with wonder and hope at the vastness of space and see possibilities instead of fear.  Both promote logic and sense over reckless violence and hate.  And they both have that cool hyperspace/warp thing that makes the stars look like you’re driving down the highway at night in a snowstorm (you KNOW you imagine that shit!  Don’t lie to me!)  So this round is a draw. Ding.

SLOW THE FUCK DOWN! This is a rear-wheel hyperdrive!!

So, judges?  Wow.  Tougher than I thought.  The score sheet is tied.  But we need a winner, ’cause that’s what ‘Merica LOVES!  And I have to pick Star Wars as “The Greatest Science Fiction Canon and Works in All of Recorded History.”  I do so because of the sheer amount of people that have bought into it.  I do so because my kids and I can sit and watch “Empire Strikes Back” and enjoy it together.  I do so because as cool as phasers are, I have ALWAYS wanted a real, working lightsaber.  And so have you.  Now, my dissenting opinion is this:  Star Trek is the better written, acted, and thought-out series.  In this fight, better is not necessarily greater.  A large pizza at D’Agostino’s in Chicago is great!  A grilled chicken flatbread wrap is better for you.  So.  Trek is better for your mind.  Star Wars just tastes a little better, even though it will slowly kill you. (Actually, that’s just George Lucas killing your childhood with CGFX.)  In a perfect world, you’d combine the two, but that would be overkill.  It would ruin everything.  It would be like that stupid Transformers/Star Wars toy line.  Some things are better on their own.  Although…

You know, somehow this just makes sense.

I’d like to take this time to remind you that there’s a very cool comment section below!  Just in case! And thanks for reading.  Live long and prosper, and may the Force be with you.