Why Watch… ‘Farscape’

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Farscape follows a group of escaped prisoners that band together to outrun their captors; the Peacekeepers (a militant and policing species of alien that to some extent share a similar genetic code to humans). With the addition of a human John Crichton (Ben Browder) having being sucked through a ‘wormhole’ into the middle of the prisoner’s escape and ultimately befriending the aliens on board the escaping living prison ship; Moya, he finds himself as much a fugitive as they are in a galaxy he knows nothing about. The different species of alien on board Moya adds to the character development between them all and the characteristics of their races are cleverly thought out. With a Luxan which are famous for their anger and a Delvian which are known for their meditative and religious beliefs, each species attributes are in direct opposition of another’s. Nonetheless, with such a small crew they all rely on one another for their survival and become some form of surrogate family. This family concept makes the audience care for each character despite how selfish or headstrong the characters may be.

Crichton’s constant references to television, jingles and songs throughout each season reminds the viewer just how far from home he is as well as adds to the ways Crichton attempts to keep the thought of Earth with him at all times. With every other character lost as to what he is talking about and some thinking him insane these moments add a comic factor that many other sci-fi space programmes lack. Additionally, Farscape uses Jim Henson’s puppetry studio to portray many of the alien species including two members of Moya’s crew; Rygel and Pilot, the puppets are nowhere near similar to Henson’s other projects such as the Muppets. Although not completely realistic, the puppetry adds another dimension to the series which makes the series a unique mix between special effects, puppetry and make-up.

All lost in uncharted space looking for a way back home; the series creates a fantastical universe filled with a plethora of alien threats such as the Scarrans, Nebari and the Sheyangs which keeps the viewer wondering just how big the universe really is. A cult television show which ended in its prime due to production costs; Farscape is a cult television series which continues to captivate the audience several years after the final episode aired and entered into graphic novel territory. If you like Firefly but wished it contained more alien species and were not so keen on the mix between sci-fi and westerns then Farscape is the show for you.

Movie Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

8/10

You would think that Marvel would be struggling to think up new ideas after the plethora of films they have released lately but you would be wrong. Their latest addition, Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, rids any thoughts that Marvel might be putting less effort into their film franchise relying on their already established audience who would avidly watch anything they distribute; like a heroin addict to their next fix (myself included). The movie consists of a good plot that integrates into Marvel’s overall cinematic universe as well as opens up opportunities to expand it through other superheroes involving aliens other than Thor whom have yet to be portrayed such as Miss Marvel and Nova.

A human thief, a green assassin,  an alien, revenge-driven murderer, a gun-toting racoon and a living, walking tree, joining forces in order to prevent a genocide determined leader from destroying an entire planet may sound a little farfetched at first but its beauty relies in making the unbelievable believable. In typical Marvel style, the movie concentrates quite heavily on how the main characters interrelate with one another which, in turn, gives these characters a sense of realism; each protagonist has their own reason for being with the others but that doesn’t mean they have to get along. It is the subtle change from selfish wants to working as a team which gives Guardians of the Galaxy as well as other Marvel films (e.g. Avengers Assemble) its out of this world experience.

Marvel’s summer blockbuster also breaks the mould from the rest of their franchise as it requires more from its special effects department, as not only do entire planets need to be created but also entire spaceship chase scenes and two of the main characters; Rocket the Racoon and Groot, the tree-like being. All of this makes Guardians of the Galaxy an action-packed, unique movie with a number of imaginative, spectacular and colourful views. Although some jokes are specifically suited for an adult audience they are not explicit so will give parents and teenagers something to laugh at while children remain oblivious allowing Gunn’s film to be enjoyed by people of every age.

The cast also makes this film a must-see movie with stars such as Glen Close and Karen Gillan both taking rather important roles in the movie. However, what makes the cast choice excellent is that each protagonist appears to have had the correct actor to play them. Chris Pratt’s personality fits well with Starlord’s talkative and cheeky nature whereas Bautista’s wrestling career suits perfectly for his part as the brutish Drax the Destroyer. Perhaps most talked about though is Bradley Cooper who voices Rocket the Racoon. Although only voiced, Cooper seems apt for the role; Rocket is portrayed as a frequently angry racoon with a sense of humour which matches well with Cooper’s charming yet wily trademark. Although not the best film for people to ogle over their celebrity crushes; with very few scenes of bare chested men (other than Bautista) but perhaps some (although not too overtly) sexual allure towards Saldana’s character Gamora through her skin tight clothing, the audience will be able to enjoy the film for what it is; an adventure about conflicting personalities that just so happens to take place on a number of other planets.

Through some great character development, humour, awkward dancing and a classic 80’s soundtrack; Gunn’s film Guardians of the Galaxy seems to have it all. The only question unanswered now is how will the Guardians of the Galaxy integrate into other Marvel films?

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