Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don’t worry; it’s only the end of the world again

If you’re reading this, it means the world didn’t end when scientists in Europe fired up the Large Hadron Collider on Wednesday.

The 17-mile-long particle accelerator constructed beneath the border of France and Switzerland will seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe by smashing particles into each other at nearly the speed of light. With any luck, scientists might even create tiny, artificial black holes, which will exist for a fraction of a second before evaporating. Assuming these black holes don’t destroy the Earth, like something out of a bad sci-fi movie.

Those crazy scientists, always tampering in God’s domain. But, hey, someone’s got to do it.
Coincidentally, a few nights ago, I saw for the first time “The Quiet Earth,” a 1985 sci-fi movie from New Zealand. Its premise is that a science experiment gone wrong causes nearly all animal life on Earth to disappear. Only three people survive — two men and one woman — which leads to exactly the sort of sexual tension you’d expect. And one of the men just happens to be a scientist who worked on the ill-fated science project. After all, someone has to tell the other two — and the audience — what’s going on.

I learned three things from “The Quiet Earth.” First, if you don’t actually like people, being the (almost) last man on Earth isn’t so bad. Second, I have a low tolerance for full-frontal nudity and cross-dressing when it involves an unattractive, middle-aged man. Third, no matter how unattractive the last man on Earth is, the last woman on Earth is guaranteed to be at least cute, if not a supermodel, which takes me back to my first point.

Ever wonder what it would feel like to be the last person on Earth? If you went to a movie theater this past weekend, you might know. The few people who did go to the movies during the first weekend after Labor Day found themselves surrounded by a lot of empty seats.

Yes, the summer movie season is over. Dead. And Nicolas Cage killed it.

His new movie, “Bangkok Dangerous,” was the weekend’s top grossing movie, but it took in only about $7.8 million, making for Hollywood’s worst weekend since “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” starring David Spade, stunk up theaters in 2003.

Rest assured, when the end of the world comes, Cage will still be here, and probably still making terrible movies, along with a cast of post-apocalyptic mutants. If “Bangkok Dangerous,” “Next,” “Ghost Rider” and “The Wicker Man” can’t kill his career, nothing can. He could make “Zandalee 2” and someone would still hire him.

(If you’re too young to remember, “Zandalee” used to be in heavy rotation on late-night Cinemax. And, actually, it’s better than Cage’s “Wicker Man” remake.)

With the 2008 blockbusters behind us, the Internet gossip turned toward next year’s movie slate, and “Star Trek” fans celebrated the franchise’s 42nd anniversary by dissecting the latest rumors surrounding next year’s new “Star Trek” movie.

So, what is this new “Star Trek” movie, anyway? It has a young cast taking over the roles made famous by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the rest. But is it a prequel? A sequel? A reboot?
Actually, it seems to be all three. Spock (Nimoy) will travel back in time to stop a plot to kill a young Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) before Kirk can do all of the things that will make him a Starfleet legend — like save the universe and have sex with dozens of alien species, not counting the androids.

Presumably Spock is only partly successful, as rumor has it that he creates a totally new timeline. If we’re lucky, it’ll be a timeline in which “Star Trek: Voyager” never happens.

Hopefully, Old Spock will try to avoid running into Young Spock (Zachary Quinto) because bad things happen when a time traveler meets himself.

How bad? Well, you could cause the end of the world.

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