You have been charged with roaming and exploring the endless vacuum of space. The only luxury you have been given is that you have the choice of any spacecraft to aid you on your journey. What will it be..?
Though there are countless, and I mean countless starships out there to make your selection from, many are very impractical. For instance, an Imperial Star Destroyer aka “Imperial cruiser”, at first glance may seem like a great idea. But the sheer size of this vessel measuring in at an whopping 5200ft makes the cruiser unbelievably unnecessary to travel alone through the universe. Even if you were to make a few friends in your voyage, you would never be able to maximize one of these ships. On the plus side, you would have a ton of firepower. But the emptiness of this massive vessel would leave you looney and somber.
Imperial Star Destroyer Imperial Cruiser – ‘Star Wars’
Now a very logical and practical choice would be to choose the ship that we all know is made to do just what we are trying to accomplish, and that of course is…
The Starship Enterprise – ‘Star Trek’
Once again, this seems like the perfect choice. Nowhere near as large as the Imperial Cruiser, The Enterprise has many pros. Boasting approximately 2000ft, The Enterprise comes equipped with photon torpedoes, a medical or sick bay, teleporter, shields and most importantly warp speed, which is used to send the Enterprise blazing around the cosmos at speeds, which can range from almost as fast as light, to faster than the speed of light.
The biggest downside to all of this is, it takes a very massive crew to operate all of these systems, and without a Starfleet crew, you are just a floating vessel. Not to mention all of these systems require recharging and maintenance , which might be difficult to do floating around in space alone.
Lets take a look at the smaller end of the spectrum. Only true fans of space movie star ships will even know what this next one is about.
The Gunstar – ‘The Last Starfighter’
That’s right, I went there. “The Gunstar” this beauty has joined us all the way from 1984. The Gunstar was one of the first ships I loved as a kid. Ahead of its time, the Gunstar boasts a relatively short 65ft in length. But is packing some 1984 advanced weaponry. Equipped with lasers, photon bolts and particle beams, the Gunstar is a formidable foe in battle. Thrusters help the ship to achieve rapid acceleration and an onboard computer is used for scanning an environment. Last but not least, the greatest weapon of all is the “Death Blossom”
Death Blossom – ‘The Last Starfighter’
Though the Death Blossom can eliminate almost all incoming enemies in glorious fashion, it leaves the ship powerless and defenseless for a period of time afterward. And no ones got time for that!
Which brings us to the ship of my choosing:
Heart of Gold – ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy’
“The HOG” as I like to call it, is approximately 492ft long. It was built as a secret government project on the planet Damogran. It is the first to use the Improbability Drive. What is the Improbability Drive you ask, well I will tell you. It is a faster than light drive. It means, if you learn to have full control of the drive, the ship can travel from place to place in space, without passing through the intervening space or hyperspace. According to the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the drive
“passes through every conceivable point in every conceivable universe almost simultaneously,”
meaning that whoever uses it is
“never sure where they’ll end up or even what species they’ll be when they get there” And “it’s therefore important to dress accordingly.”
The ship is also equipped with a new generation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation robots and computers with genuine people personalities. Including Eddie the shipboard computer, and Marvin a depressed service robot.
Improbability Drive In Action- ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy’
All in all, you can travel instantly through the universe at the speed of infinity. You will even enjoy taking on the form of other beings and inanimate objects in the universe. With the help of a built-in computer and a robot who can be of assistance with anything you may need on the ship, this would be perfect for exploration. The only real negative is that you have no weaponry incase you run in to intergalactic trouble. But who really cares, with the push of a button, you can be on to the next adventure!
Improbability Drive Button – ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy’
What ship would you choose? Let me know in the comments
EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Michael Baker, A 16-Year-Old CEO Changing the World of Autism and Anxiety
Today, at the adolescent age of sixteen, Charlie Michael Baker is already set on his journey to help millions of people worldwide suffering from autism. Baker is more than just an influencer, CEO, and an accomplished author. After being diagnosed with autism Charlie has always tried to transform society and aware people of the difficulties one faces. From being bullied in school to collaborating with Kylie Jenner, Baker is the true definition of a champion as he continues to conquer everything against all odds!
We had the opportunity to connect with Charlie Michael Baker to understand his journey better. Read our conversation below.
At the mere age of 16 you’re helping kids and parents understand autism with your book Charlie Baker: Autism And Me, how do you think it’s creating an impact and helping people going through something similar as you did?
Charlie: At just 16, it feels like I’ve accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and it’s so rewarding! My book, Charlie Baker: Autism And Me, has helped so many people which is such a rewarding thing to me. The whole reason I wrote my book was to help people and I even helped myself more than anything. Speaking up about what happened to me in school was such a relief for me because I felt like I had nobody to talk to when I was going through it.
Raising £350,000 for autism charities is praiseworthy, how do you plan to proceed further to help more autistic people worldwide?
Charlie: So far, we’ve raised just over £400,000 ($485,000+, €458,000+). This is an unimaginable amount of money and has helped lots of people worldwide! I plan to continue to donate every cent of the proceeds to my book to charities helping people with autism forever!
How can other people help in your contribution?
Charlie: Purchasing my book, Charlie Baker: Autism And Me contributes to many charities globally helping autistic people who are not able to work due to their disability. Purchasing my book is a massive help to everyone currently struggling!
You suffered a lot, and even got suicidal at one point, how do you think the youth can protect themselves from situations like you faced?
Charlie: I was in a really dark place at that time… suicide crossed my mind a few times and it was so bad that I even had to lock myself into school toilets to get away from my bullies. My book was my only escape. I found myself in my writing and it’s honestly the most rewarding thing ever! If anyone is going through any sort of unkindness, tell someone that can help! Tell an adult, a friend, a family member. They can help so don’t be afraid to ask for it!
You once mentioned that you were physically assaulted and your teacher “did nothing about it”. Do you think your life would have been different if some action was taken?
Charlie: I was physically assaulted by another student at a school I was at and we were even right beside a teacher…. Not just any teacher, though, the head of safeguarding. The lead of the safeguarding team ignored what had just happened even though it was caught on camera. Many teachers have even bought my book and they were just as disgusted at this behaviour and have been very vocal about it! My book does circulate some school libraries in England which is such a rewarding feeling. Teachers and schooling staff know of my existence and I know some action is being taken off the back of people like me speaking out.
How do you feel about your bullies now?
Charlie: My bullies still message me to this day. Whether it’s asking me for money, or asking me to shout them out on Instagram… they are still around!
You once mentioned about having a job and working 9 to 5, what do you aim for your future?
Charlie: I work a 9-5 currently at a beauty company in Manchester, England and I love it there! I’ve always loved working and not just ‘sitting around and making money off of Instagram’ as some people may think that’s what we do, so I work full time! All money that I make through Instagram goes into a trust and is helping me build my future. I’m so thankful to every one of my followers, fans and even my not – so – friendly followers. Just remember, it’s nice to be nice!
Baker has been vocal about anxiety, ADHD, autism, and mental health problems. He continues to donate and help people in all ways he can. You can support his cause by getting a copy of his book Charlie Baker: Autism and Me.
Netflix Acquires Iconic Roald Dahl Story Company
Netflix have certainly won Wonka’s Golden Ticket as they and the Roald Dahl Story company (RDSC) have joined forces to bring the worlds most loved stories to current and future fans in creative new ways.
By acquiring RDSC, Netflix have been giving access to the full catalog of works by the famed and well loved British author. This deal and acquisition builds on the partnership that started three years ago, to create a slate of animated shows, including a series based on the world of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from Taika Waititi.
In addition, Netflix are working with Sony and Working title on an adaptation of Matilda The Musical, which will be directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey and Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough will play Matilda’s parents.
These projects made Netflix truly invest in Dahl and opened their eyes to a much more ambitious venture. Which will be the creation of a unique universe across animated and live action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre, consumer products and more.
Dahl’s books, which include Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, The Witches and James and the Giant Peach etc, have sold more than 300 million and have been translated into 63 languages. His stories and characters have been delighting children and adults for generations, like myself who was brought up reading these sensational stories during bedtime and in primary school. Their messages of power and possibility of young people have never felt more relevant.
I couldn’t think of a more deserving company to handle Dahl’s creations as Netflix will be able to bring these timeless tales to more audiences than ever before especially in new formats, but still maintaining their quirkiness, spirit and themes of surprise and kindness.
Headquartered here in the UK, the Roald Dahl Story Company is led by Dahl’s grandson and managing director Luke Kelly, it has 26 full time employees across eight departments. Pending completion of the deal these employees will retain their positions and RDSC will then function as an autonomous unit within Netflix and it’ll expand the current plans for 19 tv shows, stage shows and live experiences.
A significant part of the proceeds from the sale will go towards establishing a charitable trust, supporting existing and new charity partners of the RDSC in areas of Children’s health, anti-hate and anti-racism. Netflix and the Roald Dahl Story Company truly share a deep love of story telling and an ever growing global fan base. and as Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer says “Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to write multiple new chapters of these beloved stories, delighting children and adults around the world for generations to come”.
2021, The Year To Try To Enjoy Films Again
This is a blog that I have pondered putting together for some months now and a new year led me to think that now may well be the right time. I spend, probably too much, time on Social Media because I adore watching films and I like talking about them. My hope was that I would find many like minded people, on Twitter in particular. Twitter is a place where I have very few followers who know me personally so I could be somewhat anonymous, a wry stranger who would occasionally drop into a conversation uninvited and deliver a line of Shakespearean wit and then disappear, leaving the gang of merry tweeters to wonder who the humourous stranger was that had just interrupted their discussion on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Fortunately, there are many such people on Twitter, who find and take great comfort in this dazzling of artistic mediums. They generally appear to share my love and fascination with the World of Cinema, appreciating the beauty and skill involved in every frame of celluloid (or whatever the digital equivalent is). Films have always been about escapism, they have been a comfort blanket when the World has thrown crap in my general direction. “There are always movies” I would be heard to yell, after Liverpool got thumped at home, or a school exam had been failed brilliantly, or mum had decided tonight would be the night for the infamous fish pie.* Films were there to take the burden of life’s pressures from me. They were like a friend. If life appeared to be filled with excrement, stick on Back to the Future, watch Indy get chased down by a bolder, watch the Ghostbusters cross the streams, watch the three men sing the little lady to sleep with a rap song, within minutes the World would be right again.
What I didn’t expect from my trips to Twitterland was to be encountered by the dark side. There is a popular # called #FilmTwitter which if you use at the start or end of one of your tweets will notify it to large parts of the film fan community on Twitter and hopefully start a fun conversation. However, what this hashtag does more often than not is similar to when that dude opens the puzzle box at the start of Hellraiser, it unleashes the Cenobite dwellers of Film Twitter. These are the people who hate everything, the people who’s childhoods have been ruined more times than those of us who used to watch every episode of Rolf’s Cartoon Time.
There is a more sinister side to the FilmTwitter dark troopers, and that is that their hatred now has a platform, and in most occasions a pseudonym or anonymous platform for them to spout their views. Now before I go any further, I am not for one minute suggesting that people are not allowed to dislike a film, or for that matter comment on it explaining why they don’t, of course they are. If everyone in the World liked the same things then it would be quite boring, however we would also probably be now onto Three Men and a gaggle of Great Grandkids (not sure that title would clear the censors but whatever).
The problem we have now is that people love a “like”, a “retweet” a “share”, it’s what makes the unpopular popular, and the best way to do that, is to launch into a film and let it (a piece of art designed to entertain, lest we forget) have it with two Uzi 9 millimeters.
There is an unfair phrase banded around that nobody hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans. This all came about after the release of Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII The Last Jedi in 2018. Now personally, I thought it was fantastic, and here is why. I thought it dared to be different, I thought it wanted to tell a new story, with familiar characters in a Universe that had from day one embraced diversity and shown that regardless of who or what you are you can become all you are meant to be. As Yoda famously uttered in Empire Strikes Back “judge me by my size do you?”. The online response to this film (again piece of art designed primarily to entertain) was quite frightening. Again, I must reiterate, you don’t have to like a film, whether that be Star Wars, Jaws or Police Academy 7, it is perfectly ok to not like a film. But this wasn’t a dislike, this was pure hatred.
Here comes that sinister side, I was mentioning earlier. Some people hated this film so much that they PAID to watch it several times just to build up the evidence, just to back up their arguments. I followed one Twitter user who knew The Last Jedi to the most finite detail, that can only be achieved by studying the film, like a scholar of Shakespeare would. He knew so much about this film, more than I (someone who loved it) hadn’t even noticed. He knew everything about it, and hated it. There was a teeny tiny part of me that admired his dedication to his loathing, but generally I actually felt quite sorry for him. Not because he didn’t like the film, like I said perfectly entitled to that, but he seemed to be dedicating every minute to attempting to destroy this film, with every bead of energy he could muster.
Now obviously he was never going to succeed, he was a nameless faceless keyboard warrior, but he obviously felt it was important enough to him to do all of this. He launched an online petition (he wasn’t the only one) to get Episode VIII officially removed from the Star Wars cannon. This was pure dedication. The reason I felt sorry for him was, I couldn’t help thinking, what a waste of time and energy, why make yourself this miserable. Why not watch something you do like and put that amount of time and energy into promoting that film so that more people can see it? By constantly going on about Star Wars either in a positive or negative way you arouse the interest of people who are yet to see it.
The repetition doesn’t help either, there is always one joker who thinks, when asked which is his favourite of the 4 Indiana Jones, that they are the first person to come up with the not very witty response “pah, not sure what you mean there are only 3 films to me (smug face, smug face). Toxic fandoms, they achieve nothing. Actually that is not strictly true, crying, basement dwelling man babies managed to force Daisy Ridley and Kellie Marie Tran off social media, bleating on about ruined childhoods like some entitled toddler who has been told to turn Paw Patrol off as its past bedtime.
The other sinister side of Social Media is that there are films that no-one has even seen yet that are apparently awful. Steven Spielberg is due to release a re-imagination of West Side Story in December 2021 (delayed from 2020). This is a film that is designed for Twitter to tear it apart before even so much of a trailer has been seen.
So here is the thing. Lets make 2021 the year that we just get back to why we are interested in Movies in the first place, and that is to be entertained. We don’t need to think too deeply about them, they are there to take people away from their every day lives and offer some escapism. Yes of course they are there to make money and obviously there are a lot of films about social realism and other such issues, but they are still films and the primary aim is to entertain as an artform.
Think back to the first time you saw the Star Destroyer, engulf the big screen at the start of Star Wars, or when Marty realised what the serious shit he would experience at 88mph was, or when Sally inspired half the patrons in a New York deli to order what ever she was having, or when Cap heard a distant radio signal informing him that help was “on your left”.
Think about Donald O’Connor singing Make em’ Laugh, Harold Lloyd hanging precariously from a clock face, Charlie Chaplin making bread rolls dance, Mary Poppins inventing words like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or Michael telling Fredo that he knew it was him, or Red walking across the beach to meet Andy, or Brody’s realisation that a bigger boat was required, or Buzz flying with Woody in Toy Story, or Axel Foley disarming an unmarked Police car with a banana, and Ripley advising the Alien Queen to step away.
These are all magic moments that have been revered for decades. We are now at a stage where we are not allowed to enjoy such things, because ultimately waxing lyrically about things doesn’t get any likes, or retweets, it doesn’t get any attention.
Movies are a wondrous thing, the artform of my generation. They give out hope, they give credible diverse roll models. It’s time to stop trying so hard to find fault and just let yourself go. Life is way to short to be this angry about everything.
If you are the sort of person who finds fault in most films, then my guess is that its not the films that are the problem……….it’s you.
Here’s to a wonderful year of Cinema in 2021. If you let it, it could be the best ever.
My name is Dominic Holder and I like to promote the beauty and wonder of Cinema in my writing. I spend a lot of time promoting the power of Cinema as a tool of wellbeing to anyone and everyone. I love all kinds of films but in particular, I am a devoted fan of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, John Williams, Star Wars, Disney and Marvel. My love of Cinema stems from a trip as a 4-year-old to local cinema in Bolton to watch a Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back double bill, it was the first in a series of life-changing moments, I knew from the moment the Imperial Star Destroyer engulfed the screen at the start of A New Hope I was hooked. Thankfully nearly 40 years later I still get excited and still find escapism and happiness within this wonderful medium.
You can read more of my blogs on Film at www.dominicholder.wordpress.com
*my mums is a phenomenal cook, just the fish pie really never again.
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