Snapshots - #42: Thor: Ragnarok, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, LBJ

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017), (♦♦♦♦½): Thor has saved earth twice by now and has, for the last two years, wandered the universe searching for infinity stones. He hasn't found any. He has, however, become prisoner of an enemy of Asgard, Surtur, who tells Thor that his visions of Asgard engulfed in flames is a premonition of Ragnarok—the destruction of Asgard, which is already in motion. Thor frees himself and arrives at home to find Loki sitting on the throne, passing as Odin, and neglecting his duties to protect the Nine Realms. With Odin's exile, Asgard's enemies have been reassembling, but Odin's death may just free Hela, a goddess against whom neither Thor nor Loki are enough.
It was in Thor: The Dark World where Loki, an antagonist, first threatened to steal the show. He became the villain that Marvel fandom loves to hate. While Loki is at his most charming in this film, the director, with the help of a sparkling screenplay, has very much exploited the great chemistry of t…

Europa Report (♦♦♦♦)

An international crew of six scientists embarks on a mission to explore Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon. It has been confirmed that Europa possesses a sub-surface ocean, which raises the possibility of finding even primitive forms of life in one form or another.

The crew of Europa One reaches Europa after having had a communication malfunction along the way due to solar flares as a cause of the disruption; because of this, the mission proceeds according to plan but unbeknownst to Earth mission control. Once on the surface of Europa, the crew finds the evidence they traveled so long for, but was it worth it?

Europa Report is unlike any movie I’ve ever seen for several reasons. One, the filming was made with NASA collaboration, making the Europa One mission a very realistic portrayal of deep space travel. In addition, it is filmed in a quasi documentary style so it feels like the real deal. Second, several questions arise during the viewing of the film and prominently at the end, such as is it worth the loss of lives in the pursuit of science? Are we really prepared to embark on a quest with so many unknowns, where so many things can go wrong? And most importantly, despite the rigorous training, do those scientists really know what they sign on for?

Europa Report caters to a smart audience with a complex plot and development. It is not the typical “we came, we saw, we conquered” or “we fought the bogeyman with big guns and came up on top” sort of film. It is more profound and intelligent than that. The dialogues are filled with scientific and technical jargon that may alienate the big audience that commonly enjoys sci-fi movies. And the ending is not the run-of-the-mill sci-fi alien stuff so there may be a tendency to oversimplify it and miss its repercussions completely.

I’m a space buff since I was a child, and Europa fascinates me since I read about Io’s bombarding Europa’s surface with plasma and changing its surface chemical composition through the sulfur cycle. I know, I went geeky here, but as I said, I love this stuff. This movie if not altered my view in the pursuit of greatness and scientific invention and discovery, at least has arisen some questions worth thinking about. I was a child who saw herself traveling into space and Europa Report definitely dampens those daydreams somewhat.

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