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To Explore Strange New Worlds
by Mike Thomas

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Have Power Ring - Will Travel

Have Power Ring - Will Travel

Lately, there has been a preoccupation with far-off exotic worlds.

AVATAR, the two-billion-dollar blockbuster, takes us to the far-off world of Pandora. STARSHIP TROOPERS looks at the hostile bug world world of Klendathu. Closer to home - relatively speaking - we take a look at our nearest celestial neighbor in the Disney flop, MARS NEEDS MOMS. And this summer's GREEN LANTERN takes to meet the Guardians of the Universe on the Planet OA.

Television shows like "Star Trek," and "Stargate" - along with all their various incarnations - have taken us to countless worlds. And the hit TV show, "Sliders" took us to alternate Earths.

Whereas these strange and foreign worlds are stuff of science fiction and fantasy, the adage, Truth is stranger than fiction holds true, even in this medium. Taking a joke from the great Robin Williams, God must have a sense of humor - look around you, the same assumption holds true when looking for strange new worlds right here on Terra Firma.. The world of the strange and unusual can be safely viewed from the security of the nearest cinema. The cinema has taken us to strange and foreign worlds that are just around the corner - and beyond our comprehension of reality.

Because of gas prices and our shrinking disposable income - and because it's still impossible - we cannot actually travel to these far-flung planets and systems. Instead, we can take a little staycation to the exotic and unusual worlds - right
The Performer's Home Movies

The Performer's Home Movies
here. No passports or inoculations needed.

The WORLD of ENTERTAINMENT - the world of the budding performer is indeed a different reality. What is considered important to the entertainer is foreign to us indeed. Auditions, rehearsals, performing - though the show "Glee" portray some of this world, the reality of the world of the entertainer is far less glamorous - and considerably less communal. Where a single role can attract a thousand hopefuls, friendship is indeed a foreign concept. Other movies, such as DREAMGIRLS and SHOWGIRLS shows the viewer what the entertainment world really requires of a person. And none of it is pretty. Like an iceberg, the majestic Arctic beauty of these mountains of ice buries thousands of tons of ice that will never be seen, and will never hold the hope for any type of appreciation. For every George Clooney, there are a thousand other just as qualified performers waiting on tables and delivering pizza. Yet, this is the world they have chosen, and most would not have it any other way.

The WORLD of CRIME - this genre actually has a real-world name - the Underworld. This is where a cold-hearted murderer can be the hero, crime doesn't always not pay (I know - it's a double negative), and the authorities are optional, used only as vehicles to further the storyline and to corral the BAD bad guys. Examples of this world are NEW JACK CITY, PULP FICTION, and of course, The GODFATHER. While these movies
Over the Top - Perhaps.  Real - Probably Yeah

Over the Top - Perhaps. Real - Probably Yeah
romanticize the world in which they exist, they are in our back yards, to one degree or another. Chances are you may actually know someone that fit in as one of the characters in these movies.

The WORLD of COMPETITION - the world of competition intersects with our world most frequently, but like the mighty iceberg, the real story is something you never see. Again, I'm not talking about the "mainstream" competition movies, such as sports or gambling. These competition movies are the ones that don't get the fame or the glory, and even the money. These individuals compete only because they are driven to compete. Whether it's gymnastics (STICK IT), or dancing (JIG), or even marching bands (DRUMLINE), we only see the final product. These movies show the grueling rehearsals, the punishing repetition, the pain and the injuries that these competitions inflict on their contestants, on themselves - willingly and determinedly. And again, it's a world we do not understand

The WORLD of SEX - the world of the pornographer, in my opinion, is the lowest of all the worlds living next to ours. I'm not talking about the good, clean(?), mainstream adult entertainment you find in adult stores and late-night cable. No, this world goes far deeper and seedier than most of us can imagine. Even though there has been some "mainstream" films that feature known actors, and there have been feature films, such as The PEOPLE vs LARRY FLINT and BOOGIE NIGHTS that showcase the world of adult entertainment, I'm
You'll feel like taking a Shower After This One

You'll feel like taking a Shower After This One
referring to films like 8MM and VIDEODROME, where these films portray victims, unwilling participants, forced drug abuse and death. Just because we wish not acknowledge that such a world exists, it is a reality that the world deals with on a daily basis, that sometimes makes the evening news.

And we didn't even get to the World of Canada!

This is a very big world we live in. There are six billion stories to be told, and therefore six billion movies that could be made. In the recent interviews that have been done by this writer, the perennial question of who would you like to play yourself in your bio-pic very often invokes an immediate and almost rehearsed response. By this reaction, each person tells me that they know that their life is interesting and that they know it could be a movie. To quote a line for another movie featuring an alternate universe next to our own, "Walk down the right back alley in SIN CITY, and you can find anything."

And if you look hard enough, you may find your universe.


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Science Fiction, Double Feature
Every other Sunday

This column will explore my taste in film. I watch all kinds of movies - all kinds - but likes science fiction/fantasy - action, animated, funny, even stupid. He will speak of his experience and his encounters with science fiction and the way it colors his - and our - everyday life.

Other Columns
Other columns by Mike Thomas:

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Joker Smackdown

Kids in Peril

Twenty Questions with Michael Bonomo

Twenty Questions with Scott Wheeler

All Columns

Mike Thomas
Mike Thomas was introduced to science fiction when he first watched 2001 - A SPACE ODYSSEY, and was hooked ever since. But he doesn't just watch the gee-whiz, gollee-gee special effects. He watches the costumes quirks, evaluates the musical scores, even identifies favorite actors of directors. He collected comic book, but has moved on to weapons: he currently owns the Mj?llnir - the Hammer of Thor, Electra's Ninja Sai's, Mace Windu's Light Saber, and a couple of Batarangs.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Mike Thomas by clicking here.

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