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Some miscellaneous (but more-or-less sci-fi related) God-talk

1. ComingSoon reports that the cast for M. Night Shyamlan’s live-action The Last Airbender has been rounded out and filming will begin this month. This film is an adaptation of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender that ran for three seasons on Nickelodeon—a series that we really enjoyed watching with our kids. The series takes place in a world of four nations based on their abilities to manipulate one of four elements: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. It follows the adventures of 12-year-old Ang, the last “Avatar” (who can “bend” all four elements) whose destiny is to help maintain peace between the four nations. The mythic foundation of the series draws heavily on Asian influences, from its art to philosophies and religion, and explores themes like redemption, sacrifice, suffering, good versus evil, and what it takes to face the challenges involved in saving a world. At first glance, its Eastern influences might seem to take it out of the God-talk realm, but all of these elements have the potential to bring God-talk into open spaces (and periodically did as we watched the animated series with our kids)—and with one of my favorite storytellers at the helm, I’ve no doubt that will happen.

2. ComingSoon also reports that ABC has picked up Impact, “a four-hour sci-fi mini-series about humanity's efforts to survive after the moon is hit by a meteor and enters into a collision course with Earth”. MovieWeb expands on the plot, indicating the mini-series “chronicles the aftermath of a meteor shower during which a piece of a dwarf star lodges itself in the moon. That triggers a series of anomalies on Earth, including cell phone service interruption, exaggerated tides and the occurrence of sporadic weightlessness, says The Hollywood Reporter. Astrophysicist Alex Kinter (Elliott), with a help of a female astronomer, discover that the moon has been dislodged from its orbit and is on a collision course with Earth.” Heh, I can see the science-minded rolling their eyes at this one, but I love disaster films (and find they often contain the potential for God-talk), so I’m likely to tune in on this one.

3. FilmChatBlog reports that Chariots of the Gods is on its way to the big screen—and that’s bound to bring God-talk into open spaces (though likely along the same lines as that surrounding The DaVinci Code), as one of the premises of that book posited that our world’s religions are based on encounters with aliens. I remember the book (what sci-fi fan in my generation doesn’t), but I didn’t realize there were two books out there refuting it, one supposedly page-by-page. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of story develops out of the book (it’s “non-fiction”)—and what kind of God-talk explodes around it.

4. LookingCloser points to Jason Morehead’s response to Dirk Benedict’s Big Hollywood post in which he details exactly why he doesn’t like the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, of which I myself have been a big fan—but recent episodes are making me waver on that designation. It’s no secret anymore that creator Ron Moore developed key aspects of the mythic foundation and plot as he went, and I think that’s weakened the last few episodes. It’s as if he’s published a book chapter by chapter without fleshing out the entire plot or mythos of the story before he started. In more recent “chapters” he’s had to explain some of the holes and inconsistencies, and I think that’s made for some stilted and detached storytelling. I’m hoping the rumors are true and that the final episodes will pull it all together and give us some better storytelling. We’ll see.

(Images: Avatar, Nickoldeon; bookcover, Bantam)