Judging from the commercials, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is the story of Denzel Washington heroically saving a plane full of passengers from certain death, but the film’s barn-burning crash sequence is over by the 25-minute mark. What follows is an intense portrait of a self-destructive man in what seems like a death spiral.
Almost since the days of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the mid-eighties, the powers that be at Paramount had been threatening to do a new Star Trek television series or film that would follow the hallowed characters of the original series through their early days at Starfleet Academy, sort of a Star Trek version of Muppet Babies. However, the idea of casting younger actors in the iconic roles of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy always seemed to carry the faint whiff of sacrilege, like a female pope or eating a cheeseburger with mayonnaise.
The last time Kevin Costner got anywhere near John F. Kennedy’s presidency, namely Oliver Stone’s cinematic hallucination known as JFK, history took a beating like a narc in a biker bar. Thankfully, Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days doesn’t take anywhere near the number of liberties with the truth (how could it) and its historically questionable aspects are minor and forgivable as necessary dramatic licenses in the service of a tightly honed political thriller that also happens to be mostly true.
Capote is a film that literally hangs on the performance of its star, so it’s a good thing that Philip Seymour Hoffman completely vanishes into the role of author Truman Capote. Without Hoffman’s presence, I’m afraid that this film wouldn’t hold together. It certainly wouldn’t have held my attention.
- A robot will never harm a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot will always obey the commands of a human, except where those orders conflict with the first law.
- A robot will preserve it’s own existence, except when doing so would conflict with the first or second law.
These laws became so famous within the science fiction community that if you wrote a story with robots, you were in danger of being bombarded by letters from outraged 13-year-olds if your robots didn’t obey Asimov’s Three Laws.