Monday, 20 December 2010

TRON: Legacy - (2010) - Cinema Review (7/10)

Light Cycles at the ready!

1982 saw the arrival of a film unlike any other. TRON was a feast for the imagination and eyes. One of, if not the, very first film to utilise CGI (A term that hadn't even been coined then). With a mixture of computer and traditional animation, it plunged its characters into a digital computer world, where programs became humanised characters, and the laws of traditional human physics and reality meant nothing. The plot was simple yet effective, kept that way so that its audience wouldn't be alienated by the utterly alien and unique world they were plunged into. Yet it was not so simple that it neglected its characters and had a flimsy story.

Olivia Wilde as Quorra,
in TRON: Legacy
TRON wasn't a box office flop, but it was far from the hit it was hoped to be, at the time. Much of that can be blamed on it being such a unique film, introducing so many new and unusual concepts to its viewers, that the average cinema goer didn't quite know how to take it. As the years passed, it gained a cult following, and a high level of respect for its innovation and creativity.

Disney, the original backers of the first film, finally decided it was time for a sequel. A brave and welcome move, unlike the countless 'remakes' and 're-imaginings' that currently seem the norm, and then promptly fail to light anyone's enthusiasm at the box-office.

A view from the original TRON
Modern effects have reached a point where almost anything is possible, and the world established by TRON is a clear opportunity to use it to its full potential. In the first film, the lead character was computer programmer and game genius Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges (Starman, Arlington Road, Iron Man), plunged into the computer world by a sadistic artificial intelligence called the MCP (Master Control Program), originally created by his real world nemesis, Dillinger. In an effort to stop Flynn from finding the evidence of Dillinger's misdeeds, the MCP triggered a prototype digital transportation device in the real world, but instead of re-integrating Flynn, he was kept as digital information, and thus trapped in the world controlled by the MCP.

Sam finds his father's computer, in TRON: Legacy
Of course it's all fantastical, but it follows its own sort of logic once you accept that programs have their own personalities in this electronic world. Tron, of the title, is a program created by and in the image of Flynn's closest friend, Alan Bradley, played by Bruce Boxleitner (TV's Babylon 5, Heroes, Chuck). Bradley programmed Tron as an ultimate security program, which becomes Flynn's best chance for survival, as well as saving the system from the clutches of Dillinger and the MCP.

Stark, one of the main villains
of the original TRON
Why am I explaining the original film in such depth? Because while the new film explains some things for a new audience that hasn't seen the original, it neglects to explain others. For example, the transportation machine is a major plot device, and thus has a reasonable amount of explanation and time devoted to it in the original film, enabling Flynn's entrance into the digital world to seem less absurd and impossible. In TRON: Legacy, it barely garners a mention. It's a pivotal conceit of the story, even if it is an implausible MacGuffin, yet seems forgotten, except as a quick throwaway to get our lead character into the digital world. The 'Grid' (as the electronic world is termed) gains seemingly little explanation as well. In the original, it is a manifestation of the digital computer world, with its associated electronics and programming. For example, there are financial programs being absorbed and controlled by the MCP, IO towers, which of course are the input/output devices in the real world, etc.. In TRON: Legacy, it appears as though we are simply in an unusual virtual world created by Kevin Flynn.

Beau Garrett as a 'Siren', getting ready to fit Sam
into his new outfit, in TRON: Legacy
I'm not quite sure whether they thought modern film audiences would accept the conceits without explanation, or they just thought that the explanations and plotting would get in the way of jumping into the virtual world as quickly as possible, for the limited attention span (perceived by executives, and not necessarily real) of modern cinema goers. I suspect the latter.

Bruce Boxleitner stealing the show
In TRON: Legacy, Kevin Flynn has disappeared, leaving his son, Sam, played by Garrett Hedlund (Troy, Eragon), to grow up an orphan (mother having died off-screen). After this brief set-up, we arrive at the present, with a twenty seven year old Sam living a life that would seem more fitting of a rebel teen. Alan Bradley arrives to inform him that he received a message from Kevin's old Video Arcade, prompting Sam to investigate and discover his father's computers and subsequently get pulled into the digital world of the Grid...

Beau Garrett as a 'Siren' in TRON: Legacy
So how does the sequel hold up, overall? There are some great touches in TRON: Legacy. Little nods to fans of the original film, that raise a smile, such as the 'big door', and a building called 'Dumont'. There's also a possible set up for a third film, in the placement of Dillinger's son as a key employee at the ENCOM company (that created the MCP and housed the original computer world). Though this seemingly important fact remains somewhat unexplained if you haven't seen the first film.

Light Cycles in the original TRON
Surprisingly, though, apart from the advances in the effects, TRON: Legacy not only adds little to the ideas of the original, but in fact takes a step back. One of the most stunningly original factors of the TRON world, was the ability to be completely different from the real world. Things could happen that would be utterly impossible in the normal universe. For example, the original film's most iconic sequence is its light-cycle race, where vehicles can turn suddenly at ninety degrees, leaving trails of light behind them that create walls to block an opponent. This set TRON aside from anything seen before, and exemplified the originality and creativity of the film.

Light Cycles in TRON: Legacy
In TRON: Legacy, the cycles now move like normal motorbikes (albeit retaining the ribbons of trailing light). This alteration is a good example of what I consider a major flaw in TRON: Legacy. Its entire world seems far too based in real-world physics. We are plunged into a realm that has the potential to be full of impossible wonders, and instead are given one that, while impressive, has few elements that would seem out-of-place in simply a futuristic or alien world. Of course the visuals are far superior, but the imagination behind them seems to lack the originality of the first film.

a 'Recognizer' craft, in TRON: Legacy
In TRON, some vehicles existed despite parts that had no physical visual link to each other. After all, they don't exist in the real world, so why should they? In TRON: Legacy, everything looks as though it could've been constructed physically (albeit in a future, alternate or alien world). A whole host of such touches seem to have been lost. Damaged vehicles even smoke, where before they would probably have had an unusual digital equivalent. There is rain and steam, amongst other things. It's far too 'real-world'.

Jeff Bridges stares out onto a digital world,
in TRON: Legacy
Another strange alteration, is in the abilities of 'users' (The term used by programs to refer to their human masters) who have been pulled into the digital world. In TRON, Flynn discovered the ability to 'heal' or give power to things, in a way that was impossible for the programs. Not only did this set him apart and make him special in this world, it made a strange sense (given the context) that the 'creators' had a semi-mystical ability to make things work and give them life. This is forgotten in TRON: Legacy, in favour of a single unexplained moment of Jedi-like power that makes no sense.

TRON: Legacy, or 2001: A Space Odyssey?
The visual design of the sequel world, while wonderful to look at, does feel like a straight forward extrapolation of the original (mixed with a little Bladerunner, amongst others) in a very obvious and linear way, utilising the advances in modern effects. In the one area they did try to be a little different, they instead opted to go for a very direct copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Michael Sheen as the
nightclub owner
One scene with Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost/Nixon, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) playing a nightclub owner, comes over as a strange addition more in keeping with the original film's 80's roots, that the original managed to avoid. There seemed to be a trend back then, of films with either aliens or time travellers or people from alternate worlds, hearing some 80's music, and the film would then show it all as incredibly 'cool'. Such scenes can be fun in a nostalgic way, but they do date some movies badly and add to the 'cheese' factor. The original TRON avoided the trend, but TRON: Legacy has dived in with both feet, and even shoe-horned in some terribly out-of-place shots of Daft Punk (responsible for the soundtrack), to no-doubt appease their fans.

Speaking of the soundtrack, the producers decided to go an unusual route, and hire the French duo referred to as 'Daft Punk' (known for their somewhat 80's style synth/dance music), over a conventional film composer. The result is somewhat mixed. The pair have risen far above their dance-music routes to create a more orchestral score, but it still feels like something that could've been created by a good film composer on automatic. You can't help wondering if they were hired more for their promotional use (which has featured quite prominently), than their musical ability. The soundtrack is functional but often repetitive, and unfortunately shows its somewhat simplistic 80's influences and 90's dance roots in a few scenes (notably Sam on his motorbike near the beginning, the night-club scene, and the end-credits). One can't help but wonder what a seasoned composer might have been able to create with the material (personally, I think composers such as Graeme Revell or Elliot Goldenthal would have been extremely suited).

Jeff Bridges after too much plastic surgery
As for the special effects, they are, for the most part, exceptional. Everything you could expect of a modern Hollywood blockbuster. However, there is one element that stands out terribly. For Jeff Bridges' program doppelgänger, CLU, they have utilised a digitally rendered version of Bridges' younger face, having caught his performance with motion capture. The method and result are the same as films such as Avatar, but where Avatar succeeded, was in avoiding the use of actual human characters. Therefore the system's failings were not quite so evident. Unfortunately the de-aged Bridges feels like a video-game character or someone with bad plastic surgery. This would have been reasonably acceptable for the CLU character alone (albeit jarring with the completely natural faces of the un-altered actors playing the other 'digital' characters), but they used the same technique for a flash-back in the real world, which feels quite dreadful. They would have done much better avoiding his face in that scene, until the final shot, and extracted something from one of Bridges' earlier films so that it looked natural.

Quorra relaxes, in TRON: Legacy
With regards the story, it works on a surface level as an excuse for the action set pieces. It's great fun in an unfortunately forgettable way. Where the original leaves you thinking about all the ideas and concepts and possibilities it created, the sequel is content to be an effects platform and a roller-coaster ride utilising the current tend for 3D.

It may seem that I disliked TRON: Legacy, but I didn't. It is great fun, but as with so many films these days, fails by a fair margin to live up to its potential. I never expected perfection, or a film based on my own preconceptions of what a TRON sequel should be like. But is it unreasonable to wish a film could have risen beyond the level of popcorn fun, when its own predecessor has become such an iconic example of imagination, creativity and innovation?


All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

NASA – Intentional Disappointment?

Unusual Microbes
On December 2nd, 2010, NASA was due to make an announcement to ”...discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.”

Some of you may have read my previous article 'NASA - Announcement - Possible Proof of Life Out There?', which I wrote shortly prior to the news conference.

Of course, there was a great deal of speculation going on. It seemed that NASA finally had something potentially incredible to tell us. I, like no-doubt many others around the globe, tuned in on-line to their announcement as it came through. Part of me was sceptical of how major the discovery would be, since we've heard so many things in the past that turned out to be nothing. However, part of me was also fascinated and hopeful that it could be something momentous.

It turned out that the magnificent discovery was a form of microbial life found here on earth, that uses a different element (arsenic) for one part of its basic structure, where up till now it was thought only phosphorous was used, as it is with other life on Earth.

Not only was this their big announcement, but already many experts are questioning that NASA's results are accurate, and dubious about their methods of testing.

Oddly enough, it fits in with one of the possibilities I suggested “The recently discovered Mexican 'Cueva de los Cristales' (Cave of Crystals).” and, “...there is speculation that it could result in the finding of independently evolved forms of life in its isolated unique environment. This could impact studies of astrobiology...” I got the location wrong, but in general, my least optimistic theory turned out to be correct.

Felisa Wolfe-Simon, part of the NASA presentation team
It all begs a few questions, though... Undoubtedly NASA knew what speculation the wording of their news conference would spark. I'm sure you would agree, they're not stupid. So they worded something that would clearly give out the wrong signals, then made an announcement that, while I'm sure it is fascinating to the world of microbiologists, is hardly the kind of revelation to the rest of us that the news conference announcement implied. A simple quantifier would have sufficed, without giving anything away, surely? The mention of it being something microbial on earth, perhaps?

One of the original co-authors of the paper on the discovery, stated this in reply to the sceptical scientists: "Science works in a certain way. It's resistant to change," he said. "But if you look qualitatively at our data, it's compelling. They may prove us wrong, or they may reproduce the results and find new stuff... It's the way the process works." A fair statement, but with a viewpoint like that, implying that they're not even 100% sure they're correct and that their data is replicable themselves, why was such an event set up to reveal the findings? Why would they announce it this way? It makes you wonder... Perhaps they are fanning the flames for more funding? Obama has made plenty of absurd cuts to NASA's budget recently, but surely they would realise that the disappointing scale of their final announcement would in turn undermine that effort.

When all is said and done, we can speculate endlessly and get nowhere. The only real thing we know, is that any genuine search for extraterrestrial life will continue pretty much as it did before, without missing a beat...

(To read a different and extremely good discussion on the subject, try giving this blog a go: “Dear NASA... We like the Super-Tough Microbes, Yes, But...” )

All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Skyline - (2010) - Cinema Review (6/10)

Keep Your Brain!

What went wrong? After some initially positive buzz and a trailer that got people interested and excited, Skyline turned into a bit of a damp squib at the box-office.

The film concerns itself with an alien invasion of Earth, in a similar style to everything from War of the Worlds to Independence Day. In this case, following events from the perspective of a small group of friends trapped in a Los Angeles apartment block, as they witness what happens and try to survive.

'The Brothers Strause', as they have named themselves, were responsible for producing and directing the film with their own funds. They own their own Hollywood effects company, and their previous (and first) feature-film directing credit was the rather dreadful Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem. This was the first bad sign, but supposedly a lot of studio interference marred that film, and Skyline was meant to be their independent proof of talent. Unfortunately it falls a little flat.

In itself, the idea is rather good fun. It steals rather obviously from a number of films, but with enough variation that it never quite feels too deliberate (Unlike, for example, a film like Avatar that copies only one or two films far too closely). In the character and location set-up, we are reminded of Cloverfield (without the shakeycam), and there are scenes reminiscent of any number of films, from War of the Worlds to Independence Day and everything in between.

The aliens and their vehicles have similarities to The Matrix, Cloverfield, Independence Day, War of the Worlds, even possibly Howard the Duck! To name just a few... Again, most are just removed enough from their possible inspirations, that they don't spoil the film. Unfortunately it does stop the creature and vehicle designs feeling particularly original and inspiring, as well.Although almost any film can trace its inspirations back to a multitude of others, Skyline does have a tendency to almost proudly show its own influences too directly, on the surface.

It's a strange film, because unlike many such movies, instead of starting out with the its interesting premise and ideas, then going downhill from there, it does the opposite. It starts out spending too much time introducing utterly bland characters with whom the audience cares little, then gains momentum through the increasing tension and action. If the characters had been interesting, and gained our sympathy and support in the first place, it would have been time well spent. Unfortunately it wasn't, which of course damages the effectiveness of the otherwise well-constructed action later on.

Lack of characterisation, is Skyline's biggest flaw. There are any number of potential plot holes, from improbable survival in close proximity to a nuclear blast (Along with nary a consequence of note), through to unrealistic military tactics, to explosive gas that seems to leave people completely conscious without any drowsy effects at all. All conceits that could have been somewhat forgiveable (How many successful films get away with worse?), had it not been for the utter lack of sympathetic and interesting characters that make us want to witness and follow their struggle to survive.

The characters are dreadful stereotypes, from the 'successful partying playboy' to the 'cool artist dude'. Strangely, the 'playboy' character exhibits every trait you would associate with someone who is supposed to be a shallow musical star (Perhaps a rapper or some-such), but turns out to be a special effects expert. It's as though the script writers wrote one thing, and the Strause brothers decided to change the character's livelihood as a nod to their own, without altering any of the clichéd trappings of the character's previous incarnation.

Jarrod, the lead character and 'cool artist dude', is played by Eric Balfour (known for numerous small parts in a variety of TV series). Unfortunately he seems completely miscast. His look and demeanour hint that he should be some gun-wielding LA 'gangsta'. Between the lack of interesting personality in the script, and his inappropriate casting and on-screen persona, it is difficult to care what happens to Jarrod, as events unfold.

The female characters, such as his pregnant girlfriend, seem to have even less depth. In one scene, a lone military drone struggles through impossible odds and personal injury, to sacrifice itself in a last ditch effort to bring down an alien vessel. The drone gains more of our emotion and has a more sympathetic and brave personality than any of the human characters. When you realise that, you also realise that something has truly gone awry with the script and direction.

It may seem as though I'm coming down hard on Skyline. The action scenes are often effective and well executed, the special effects are for the most part excellent, and the pace does build adequately as the film progresses. Make no mistake, the stars of this film are the special effects, and considering its rumoured low-budget of ten million dollars, it does look spectacular. This isn't a film that throws all of its best moments at you during the trailer. There is plenty of eye-candy to enjoy, from big explosions to gooey aliens.

As events progress, there are elements that feel straight out of classic 50s science fiction. It's over-the-top and extremely fun for someone such as myself, who is a fan of classic SF, but I can also see how those elements could appear 'cheesy' to a modern audience less versed in the genre.

Another positive on Skyline's side, is the ending. It's flawed, because it leaves things deliberately open for a sequel without a conclusion, but it did appear that it was going to end in a much more stereotypical and annoyingly pointless and hopeless way. So the subsequent ending did feel more satisfying. It ends with some hope, albeit it an extreme way that many may not like. In fact, the conclusion reminded me of something straight out of Edgar Rice Burroughs 'Synthetic Men of Mars' (first published in 1939). As such, I enjoyed its somewhat old-school sense of fun, mixed with modern action and effects.

So really Skyline is a mixed bag, but at the end of it all, I can't avoid some of its gaping flaws. I would suggest a rental for fans of science fiction, with the proviso that you don't expect anything outstanding. As for those of you who are not science fiction fans, I would advise giving it a miss.

It's a shame, as Skyline had a lot of potential. There are rumours of a sequel, and given the ending, it could be great fun. However, I won't hold my breath. I'm giving it 6 out of 10, for the sheer fun of some scenes, but that's being very generous, overall.


All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.

RED - (2010) – Cinema Review (7.5/10)

The Old Guys Fight Back

RED is the story of ex-secret agent Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Twelve Monkeys), busily enjoying a secluded retirement with a hint of possible romance in his future. Then his world erupts once again, and he must rescue the girl and once more gather his ageing compatriots in an effort save them all.

In the broadest terms, RED has a lot of similarities to the initial setup of the classic 80s Schwarzenegger action movie, Commando (Which is ironic, given Willis' breakthrough movie was Die Hard, originally written as an intended sequel to Commando).

The cast is impressive, including Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en), Helen Mirren (2010, The Queen, Inkheart), John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich, Con Air, Eragon), Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Holland's Opus), Brian Cox (The Long Kiss Goodnight, Troy, x-Men 2) and filling it out in the younger category, Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings, Doom, Star Trek) and Mary-Louise Parker (The Spiderwick Chronicles, TV's Weeds).

It's all great fun, watching this group of ageing stars whipping the youngsters' proverbial posteriors. It's impossible not to enjoy seeing Helen Mirren acting like a perfect lady, as she hides a machine gun behind a vase of flowers, or John Malkovich as a rather nutty and paranoid ex-spy.

There's very little to dislike in RED. The actors are clearly having a great time in their roles, and it creates an infectious atmosphere of enjoyment. Meanwhile, the twists and turns of the plot are nothing shockingly original, but neither are they so blatant and obvious as to leave you rolling your eyes.

I only have two real criticisms. Firstly, the fate of one member of the team is rather lacklustre and ends up almost forgotten, when it should have been more poignant. Secondly, whilst enormous fun, the whole thing is rather forgettable. There's nothing that's likely to make you wish to revisit the film regularly, or rush out and buy it. You'll probably finish watching it all with a smile, but you won't find yourself avidly talking about it and dissecting it afterwards, either.

All-in-all, it's an enjoyable diversion, raised rather higher than it could have been, by a great cast with a contagious sense of fun and some explosive action.


All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.

NASA Announcement - Possible Proof of Life Out There?

Surprise News Conference

CGI rendering of the Mars Rover
Yesterday, I heard about an impending announcement by NASA at a news conference due to start at 2pm EST (Eastern Standard Time) on the 2nd of December. That's about 7pm (if my maths is correct) for those of us on GMT. (Click here to read)

Here's a snippet from the announcement of the news conference:

“WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.”

Renowned theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku 
Apparently speculation has been rife on the internet since the announcement. Everybody's wondering what it could be. Possible proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life? Even renowned scientist Michio Kaku has been asked to talk about the possibilities on America's MSNBC and FOX networks, and posted on his blog about the event (Click here to read).

His thoughts are that it could be anything from:
a) The discovery of many earth-like planets in space (As opposed to the larger Jupiter-like planets they tend to be discovering).
b) Analysis of the chemicals on some of our solar system's moons that could provide the building blocks to life.
c) Proof of the existence of some extraterrestrial microbial life.

Personally, I feel we can discount options a) and b). There have been past announcements about moons in our solar system that have chemicals that could allow the existence of life. We've also had plenty of announcements about extra-solar planets. Not only have we had them before, but given the differing scientific fields that such discoveries would influence and impact, it seems highly doubtful they would call a news conference specifically related to astrobiology.

Option c) seems the most likely on his list.

The Possibilities

Obviously at this point the news conference could be about the discovery of the tiniest bit of extraterrestrial microbial life, right through to walking on stage with a live alien making first contact. However, being sensible, what are the most likely contenders?

In my opinion, we can break them down to a few major ideas.

Small Scale Contenders:

The Mars Rover finding evidence for
sub-surface water
1 – The Mars Rovers. Yes, I know, everyone always jumps to Mars as the most likely suspect due to its historic expectations, but bear with me. Mars is also the only extraterrestrial planet on which we have regularly operating probes at ground level searching out new material. If the discovery is a small one, it is very possible that the Rovers would be the first suspects to find it. It could be anything from a tiny Martian insect caught on camera, to a simple moss (or similar) on a rock, to photographing a definite fossil fragment.

Cueva de los Cristales
(Cave of Crystals)
2 – The recently discovered Mexican 'Cueva de los Cristales' (Cave of Crystals).  This discovery was a completely isolated never-before-seen phenomena on this scale, and there is speculation that it could result in the finding of independently evolved forms of life in its isolated unique environment. This could impact studies of astrobiology greatly, but why would NASA be the ones making the announcement?

The Hayabusa re-entry into the
Earth's atmosphere
3 – The Hayabusa Spacecraft. The Japanese Hayabusa probe that collected particles from the Itokawa asteroid. Perhaps some of the key chemical building blocks of life or even fossilised microbial samples have been discovered in its captured particles. Perhaps its minilander, Minerva, didn't fail? Then again, even if NASA were involved in analysis of the materials, why would they be making the announcement?

Mid Scale Contenders:

Saturn's moon Enceladus, taken
from the Cassini probe
1 – The Cassini spacecraft and Huygens probe that landed on Titan. This mission has not only landed a probe on Titan, but analysed the chemical make-up of several of Saturn's moons. Could further analysis of the photos from the Cassini-Huygens probe have provided new evidence? (Seems unlikely, given the landing occurred some time ago) Or has the Cassini probe discovered chemicals around one of the moons that can only created by the existence of life? (Or at least provide the necessary building blocks)

Large Scale Contenders:

The famous 'Face on Mars' after
closer photography from orbit
1 – The Mars orbiting satellites, or other planetary/moon probes. Perhaps one of these has indeed photographed evidence of life? Though due to the scales at which these spacecraft take their photographs, it would have to be something like ancient structures or similar, implying not only the past(?) existence of life, but intelligent life.

2 – A signal of intelligent origin. I find this unlikely, because although it would be of importance to astrobiologists, it would not be they alone whom it would impact, as the news conference suggests.

Global Impact

It's difficult to speculate, as it depends entirely upon the level and scale of their discovery. It can't be absurdly large, or we would be hearing some kind of announcement from the White House (Unless of course this has been kept under wraps sufficiently to get the news people in-place without giving the game away too much. The news conference is happening at NASA's Washington offices, after all).

If it turns out to be genuine proof of extraterrestrial life, even on the smallest scale, it will completely alter our perception of our place in the universe. However, this will be a gradual change, as it won't impact or interest the average Joe on the street as much as the latest sports scores.

If it turns out to be proof of not only extraterrestrial life, but intelligent life, then it could cause all manner of situations, from riots in highly religious and extreme countries who decry the evidence and its implications, right through to causing our largest world governments to band together to discover more about our alien companions in the universe, potentially ushering in a new era of planetary co-operation and purpose.

Final Thoughts

Of course, all of this is speculation by someone who has no real scientific knowledge, but for the average interested individual such as myself, those seem the most likely logical candidates. My gut instinct says something on a scale that the Mars Rovers might discover.

I could be completely wrong (and I probably am), but it's fun to wonder. The only way we're really going to find out, is tonight, by watching the NASA news conference.

We should all make the effort if we can. It may not be anything spectacular, in fact it's probably disappointingly mundane, but it could also be something that completely changes our world and our existence forever. Wouldn't you want to be one of the first to know?

All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.