The Bodhisattva Ray. A New Film Idea.

Holidays. A time where I am possessed by the deep need to lay about and do absolutely nothing without any guilt. One of my guilty pleasures is to search for movies from the past year that I have not seen and kick back and watch. If it is science fiction, even better.

So it was with great disappointment that I chose to attempt watching Enders Game. I am not going to bore the reader with a recap of what the film was about. Basically Alien invasion infuses earthlings with resolute survival instincts to retaliate and destroy enemy. In this version, kids are trained for that purpose, because it is understood that children process complex data way faster than adults. Children are selected to be killing agents for earth.

war-of-the-worldsOkay, I have said enough about that boring film. What I want to discuss is the fact that SO MANY science fiction films deal with EXACTLY THE SAME SCENARIOS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!

Science fiction, which I read a great deal of in high school and then in art school, was for me, a genre rich in imagination. For instance, The Foundation Trilogy  by Isaac Asimov was a far richer Star Wars scenario then the latter mentioned. Robert Heinlen, Harlan Ellison, and others were all so rich and varied and exciting to read. So why is it that every big screen sci fi has to have some scenario involving war or dystopia. Have we become so jaded that we cannot envision a future that is not a direct extension of the present? Do we have any sense of hope?

Now I am going to reveal my own idea for a premise. If you wish to collaborate on a story with me, I am all ears. So here it is…but keep in mind that if I see a script in a year or two without credit and it becomes a multi million dollar project, I am calling my lawyers.


The Bodhisattva Ray is ©2014 Bruce Zeines. Unless you can show me where this has already been done.…I would love to see it.

What if another race of beings from far away came with a purpose—not to destroy or dominate or usurp us, but rather to enlighten the planet? I have this vision of a superior race, who observing our condition, sends an electro magnetic pulse onto the surface of our planet which instantly puts the entire human race into a state of instant self realization. What would be the consequences of such an event? Would it all be positive? Could the majority of humans sustain such an event without going completely mad? My working title is “The Bodhisattva Ray”

I believe that the current sad state of films coming out of Hollywood is the way it is because for one, everything is about making money. Two, most screen writers and directors do not have the personal vision to see much past what has already been done. And three, very few humans are actually in the process of seeking enlightenment, therefore they are unable to see a race or planet that would represent a higher ideal.

I often walk the streets of Brooklyn, many times accompanied by my son, where our discussion and thoughts work out scenarios where the world could be improved. How things could be made better. What would our streets look like with less or no cars. What if people cared more about their immediate environment? What if corporate businesses, fast food restaurants, liquor stores, cheap food markets (too much candy, chips, lotto tickets and sweetened soft drinks) did not litter our landscape, but rather open spaces (for ALL) existed and our mobility was clean and sustainable? What if there were food gardens everywhere? Or that community among neighbors was part of the natural order rather than an occasional feel good event?

I am waiting for a good movie like that. It probably will never happen though. This is because there will be no fancy weapons, no horrific and scary aliens, no kung fu and there will be no requisite murder, death and violence. After all, they will say, who wants to watch a film full of meditating, peaceful and functional characters? Disharmony is so much more entertaining.


Open Call To Extraterrestrials: Invade Now!!

While passing the new subway posters for Battle: LA this morning, a question arose in my mind. Why is it that during difficult times, there are a mass of films that depict end of the world scenarios. And then looking around the dismal subway station, seeing how people are dragging their sorry asses off to jobs they hate, and reflecting on the equally depressing economic times we all find ourselves in, I remarked to my son that what we need right now is a good old fashioned alien invasion.

Yes. I mean it. A good War of the Worlds with giant robots appearing on the landscape. Ray guns flashing here and there. Weird and disgusting slimy beasts crawling about and abducting beautiful women. Cow mutilations and mass destruction of cities. Weird little Martians with disintegrating guns aimed at our lobbyists, politicians and bankers. Evaporating them into oblivion. But not before we catch a glimpse of their skeletal structure which can then happily be turned to dust. Let us flatten the aberration we call cities. Let giant nomadic beasts pour forth from giant aircraft, covering masses of acreage, pulverizing the citizens of our fair towns. As those of us who remain, will gape up at the sky in terror and a few of us yell out “AWESOME!”

Then we can find ourselves sitting amidst an apocalyptic ruin. Let us imagine us survivors being marched onto these space ships and tested for the possibility of being steak dinner for his lordship Col. Bongolop from the planet Yaptroid. Do you think they will accept our over sugared population with their blood so full of the latest synthetic pharmaceutical wonders? They may reject the fast food, donut eating, pill popping hordes and only eat the vegans!

My entire life I have been a fascinated with science fiction and comic books. During High School I had my run of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury. Later I moved onto the more Utopian, Ursala La Guin and the funny stories of Kurt Vonnegut.  I have always enjoyed good alien invasion films, as well as the bad, the tacky and the campy ones. Those cheesy stories in Mystery Comics (It Came From Beyond) or the many super hero adventures where many alien invaders were thwarted. I was always fascinated by my brother’s War of the Worlds trading cards which had loads of images of cattle being burned to the bone. These stories have been popular all of my existence. So what is so fascinating about these stories in which we are overpowered by those who seem more advanced and more brutal than we are? If we look at ourselves, is it possible that another race of beings can be more brutal to us than we are to each other? Despite all the fear and carnage they portray, is there some ray of hope lingering behind the plot?

As I cannot seem to find an adequate answer to my question as to what correlation there is between the financial collapse and alien invasion scenarios, I am going to have to venture out on my own. Somehow, I think we have had a long preparation for it. From Invaders from Mars to Star TrekIndependence Day to Starship Troopers,  Ray Harryhausen’s It Came From 20,000 Light Years or J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield, we as a society, are fascinated with the prospect of having our world turned upside by creatures from above. And when I say above, we are not referring to a holy presence. We are talking mass destruction, baby.

Recently  Stephen Hawkings was quoted: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”

This was used as a launching point for the recent film Skyline (I have not seen it yet, so I cannot comment.) But maybe we need to ponder. In America, we have been getting robbed every day of our lives by a financial system that was, in its inception, set up to be unfair. We get fleeced daily everywhere we turn. We accept that a money system is equitable, and that it gives all of us an equal chance. Ask anyone who has been poor all their lives and see if they think it is equal. Recent circumstances seem to illustrate that there are hidden and faceless men mucking about behind the scenes with the intent of taking everything for themselves, leaving the rest of us struggling for the scraps. Presidents of Citibank, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Merill-Lynch and many other faceless criminals who jolly about on Wall Street and Broad Street in the name of the common good when all they seem to do is create more squalor and hardship for those of us not soley motivated by the holy dollar. Oil men who have created a worldwide addiction to a toxic product. Pharmaceutical companies who have replace sound nutrition with chemical supplements. Could these be our invaders?

So in that light I invite our extraterrestrial friends to come on down here and mutilate our bankers. Burn up our lobbyists. Destroy congress with a ray gun. Probe our bio-technicians, No superhero will come and save them. We won’t even miss them. After the ET’s have obliterated all the schmucks of the world, and cause anal distress among the many, then they can leave the rest of us in peace. An eerie silence will shroud the atmosphere. Can we all just get along?

If you think that somehow I have gone overboard, I invoke my innocence. After-all, I did not cook up these fantasies. They have been delivered to us in every form possible for the past 90 years. Ever since Fritz Lang directed Metropolis, we have struggled to visualize a future world ruled by money and technology. there has been no shortage of stories in books, movies, television, cartoons etc. We even had a hit song in the 1969, by Zager and Evans that went:

In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive
They may find

In the year 3535
Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do, and say
Is in the pill you took today

In the year 4545
Ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes
You won’t find a thing chew
Nobody’s gonna look at you

And so on

So at this stage in my rant, I am trying to find my point. Maybe there is no point. I had a need to express something. But I will leave you with this. My son read the Battle: LA as battle la, meaning sought of a sing song, like Battle la la la. It may be a launching pad for a musical based on an alien invasion. But my favorite alien parody still comes from a Saturday Night Live episode when Tony Danza was the host. It starred Danza, Phil Hartman and Christopher Guest. It was called “War of the Funkin Worlds” It took place in Brooklyn, my home town. And let me tell you, if the funkin aliens ever came to funkin Brooklyn. We would just kick their funkin asses! It is too bad we cannot do this to the real invaders, or can we?