If you are in the US, happy Turkey Day to you! I thought this would be a good point to mention a few of the things that brought a smile to my face today (OK, technically yesterday, but also earlier today from my personal worldview).

The first one is that J. Michael Straczynski, the guy who created Babylon 5 on a room full of networked Amiga’s, is now putting together a new movie version of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet! The original version was nominated for a number of academy awards, had an all-electronic soundtrack, and introduced Robby the Robot to the world. JMS says there will be more action in the new version than the original, but the core story (Shakespeare’s The Tempest plot, star sailors vying for the attention of the Girl while Dad looses it) will be retained, meaning a lot of the character development with the dialog required to support it will still be in there. Considering how incredibly well action and intellect were balanced in Babylon 5, I suspect he will do the original proud (official B5 site here).

Along with 1951’s two blockbusters, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and When Worlds Collide (still waiting for the remake by Spielberg on that one), Forbidden Planet changed the perceptions of the viewing public about science fiction, and made the general population realize for the first time that there was serious human drama and cutting social commentary to be had in these stories. JMS was the first TV/Movie producer to use the internet (starting in 1991, before the Web existed and when very few non-geeks knew there was an internet) to connect with the fans, and encourage them to contribute to the creation process. Tracing the history of the evolution of ideas is WAY above my pay grade or competency level, but there seems to be a certain symmetry there.

Like JMS, James Cameron has also been a serious pioneer of both computer technology and visually based storytelling. Which makes it appropriate that for his latest movie, Avatar, he came out with an App masquerading as a trailer. While lots of folks go on about how he is changing the technology of film making, we know that he is just making popular how some of the technology is applied. That doesn’t change the fact that I am more excited about Avatar hitting the big screen than any other movie in December; powerful story telling needs no technological crutch, and indeed brings techno-changes in on its coat tails. You can download and install the Interactive Avatar Preview, or go to the YouTube Channel to watch the non-interactive HD version on line.