The Empty Balcony: The Avengers, or, the War of the MacGuffin defines MacGuffin as “an object or event in a book or film that serves as the impetus for the plot.” Wikipedia goes further, defining it as “a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) is willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to pursue, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so desirable (emphasis added).” Alfred Hitchcock is credited with popularizing the term in the movie industry, employing it himself, even turning Cary Grant into a MacGuffin in North by Northwest. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: The Avengers, or, the War of the MacGuffin”

The Empty Balcony: Sunshine

Good science fiction films set in space are hard to come by. So many examples embrace the fiction part at the expense of the science that they lose a good deal of intelligence, and stupidity is death to sci-fi. Additionally, it’s a challenge to make space an interesting setting without working around so many of the realities that make space not only the most challenging environment there is for human existence, but also the most boring. There’s a reason, after all, that space shuttle launches are broadcast on C-SPAN. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Sunshine”