Question of the Week: What’s your favorite film(s) on Man-Machine relationship?

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I saw The Machine back in April and while I didn’t think it was perfect, it’s a pretty darn good sci-fi that’s worth your while. I think the concept is intriguing, with fantastic acting [Toby Stephens, natch!] and compelling direction. I have been re-watching clips of this film recently, especially the scenes between the scientist Vincent (Stephens) and his robotic creation Ava (Caity Lotz). At the core of it, it’s the relationship of man and machine that makes the story memorable.

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One of my favorite scenes in the movie

Sci-fi classic Blade Runner, which The Machine undoubtedly paid homage to, explores that man-machine relationship brilliantly. I actually love the original title of Philip K. Dick novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?‘ Now it doesn’t sound as cool but it’s effective as it immediately makes you think about the humanity [or lack thereof] aspect of man-made machines better than Blade Runner.

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All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain …

I love sci-fis, especially those that explore this topic, perhaps even more so than sci-fis involving aliens from outer space. So no doubt I love movies like Terminator, Iron Giant, The Matrix, A.I., Her and the Battlestar Galactica (BSG) TV series, which is a big space soap opera of Cylons (android race) and humans. I think there’s something about ‘men playing God’ aspect that captures my attention, as in some ways these androids are part of us humans who create them, in the same way that we’re created in the image of our Creator. But of course the fantastical aspect of seeing machines somehow developing consciousness is what I find fascinating AND entertaining.

Often the depictions of these androids actually remind us of what it means to be human, as the Blade Runner ‘tears in the rain’ scene so poignantly illustrates. In this scene in The Machine, Vincent [a scientist akin to Dr Frankenstein] asks his own robotic creation…

‘Just who are you really? How do I know that you’re alive and not just some clever imitation of life?’


Now even Vincent himself probably realizes he might never find the answer. Now another the burning question being asked time and time again is can man and machine co-exist? In the BSG series, the Cylons threaten human extinction, forcing the humans into deep space confined in a spaceship. The tagline of The Machine says ‘They Rise. We Fall.’ which suggest that the much-more advanced and powerful machines are more dominant and that the future seems uncertain for the humans.


So what are your thoughts on this topic? What’s YOUR favorite movies about man & machine?

Wet Blog-a-thon: Ten Indelible Rain/Wet Scenes

Rain just makes everything so much more dramatic in movies… so when I saw this Wet Blog-a-thon open invitation at Andrew’s blog, I knew I just had to take part. Of course the first thing that came to mind is something romantic, which is what I did a couple of years ago with the Jane Austen’s beautiful rain scenes.

The power of rain isn’t just limited to the romantic sense of course, and in this poll by LOVEFILM earlier this year, action apparently won over romance. The brutal and beautifully-filmed Battle of Helm’s Deep scene in The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers was voted best rain scene and I must stay it’s one of the best scenes of the entire trilogy. You can view the very scene here. So this year, I’m going to list ten memorable and powerful rain/wet scenes used to great effect to signify everything from passion, tenderness, healing, vengeance, bravery, and defiance. It’s by no means a comprehensive list of course, just some I could think of at the top of my head today. So here we go:

Road to Perdition – Ambush in the rain

This atmospheric scene is sooo beautifully-filmed by Conrad L. Hall. It’s intense, brutal and incredibly poignant. The most heart-wrenching scene is when Paul Newman said to Tom Hanks character just before he entered the car… “I’m glad it was you” in his final surrender to an employee he loved as his own son.


Ben-Hur – Cleansing water from heaven

The redemptive quality of this film never fails to move me. On the eve of Christ’s crucifixion, as His body still hangs on the cross, Judah’s mother and sister were miraculously healed from their leprosy.


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The Guns of Navarone – Cliff climbing in the rain

One of the most intense action scenes in this movie involve a massive amount of water. They’re both filmed in the studio, but I thought the special effects were pretty good for the day and it signifies just what an impossible mission this team of six had to go through. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the exact scene I was referring to, but here’s a trailer of the film that shows a snippet of it:


Casino Royale – Shower Scene

Bond shows his tender side here as Vesper is traumatized by the brutal killing she unwittingly got involved in. There is nothing erotic or sexual in this scene, instead it packs an emotional wallop that makes Bond/Vesper relationship one of the best and most convincing romances in a Bond movie.


Titanic – Rose Dawson arrives in New York

This is apparently Nick’s favorite rain scene and I could see why. It’s a hopeful scene as Rose finally arrives in America, but more importantly, it signifies Rose’s defiance to her ‘fate’ and her undying love for lowly Jack Dawson.

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300 – “It does look like rain.”

I like the stylized way Zack Snyder shot this scene. The music is cool, a modern take of a war theme that captures the optimistic and euphoria the Spartans feels watching Xerxes’ army destroyed by the storm. It also has one of my favorite quotes from the movie: Only one among us keeps his Spartan reserve. Only he. Only our king. Gerry Butler’s Leonidas is at his at his most solemn and dignified.


Blade Runner – Tears in the rain

It’s no wonder this scene is always present in most people’s favorite rain scenes. It’s undoubtedly Rutger Hauer’s most famous scene that he’ll always be known for. I just realized recently that the scene was unscripted! According to Wiki, Hauer wrote the speech himself and when he’s done with that scene, the cast and crew actually applauded and some even cried. Isn’t that cool or what?


Shawshank Redemption – Taste of Freedom 

One of the best prison film ever and definitely one of those movies everyone must see. The taste of freedom has never looked so gut-wrenching than the moment Tim Robins’ Andy came out of the sewer pipe and feels the taste of rain water for the first time in 20 years. Powerful stuff.


The Truman Show – the curiously isolated rain shower

This scene is whimsical but also tremendously sad at the same time. Truman has been suspicious of his surrounding for a while, but nothing quite prepares him for what’s really been done to him. Truly one of Jim Carrey’s best work and one of my all time favorites.


V for Vendetta – Evey is reborn

Undoubtedly one of Natalie Portman’s bravura performances even before Black Swan, this is a pivotal scene involving her character Evey being liberated from the fear that’s controlling her. Whether or not one agrees with V’s radical method, it certainly makes for an intriguing piece of cinema. As she stands in the pouring rain with outstretched arms, the scene is intercut with scenes of ‘V’ himself escaping from the burned down prison of the totalitarian regime.



Well, these are just ten I can think of right now. What are some of your favorite wet/rainy movie scenes?