Sunday, May 27, 2012

Getting Ready

We're busy here on island getting ready for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.  It won't be as large of a celebration as the 65th anniversary, but we'll be having a few veterans of the battle out here, as well as a special plane bringing out other guests for the day.  As far as other things going on around here, we have a few seal pups on the beaches around here, some Laysan ducklings running around, a lot of nesting birds with chicks, and some good weather.

Jennifer, Peter, and Christine are cleaning up the memorial for Memorial Day and for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

This is the finished product of the picture I showed you last week.

Albatross fledging season is getting close, so the tiger sharks are starting to become a lot more common.  People have been seeing them in the harbor quite frequently and I saw this one a few days ago on the way back from Eastern Island.  It looked about 8-9 ft long.

The red-footed booby chicks have hatched.

Here's a Red-tailed tropicbird flying by.  I took some pictures of the White-tailed tropicbirds too, but they weren't so great.

We started a volleyball league.  We haven't been playing much at all for the last year.  We're only playing for 3 weeks, but it's better than nothing.

UFO movie news round-up (27 May, 2012)

Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Prometheus: the making of a new myth

“What made Ridley Scott revisit the world of his iconic movie Alien more than 30 years later? The reasons are complicated, writes Damon Wise, and the results aren't what you'd expect.”

Article featuring comments from Ridley Scott indicating that Prometheus might be the beginning of a whole new franchise. Read it here. 

Men in Black 3 stuff

MIB 3 director Barry Sonnenfeld tells io9 what he has learned from the second movie’s mistakes and how his threequel is better as a result.

Meanwhile, Lee Spiegel of The Huffington Postreminds us of the real-life MIB encounters that inspired the movie franchise.

Finally, on the MIB front, it’s an “illegal alien” face-off between MIB 3 and Mars Attacks over at Bryce Zabel’s Movie Smackdown site. Go see who wins!

Former SETI Director: Hollywood’s aliens are too nasty!

Former SETI Director Jill Tarter tells Universe Today that Hollywood’s alien invasion movies are a big bag of bollocks… but phrases it more politely than that…

“While Sir Stephen Hawking warned that alien life might try to conquer or colonize Earth, I respectfully disagree. If aliens were able to visit Earth that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food, or other planets. If aliens were to come here it would be simply to explore.

Considering the age of the universe, we probably wouldn’t be their first extraterrestrial encounter, either. We should look at movies like ‘Men in Black III,’ ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Battleship’ as great entertainment and metaphors for our own fears, but we should not consider them harbingers of alien visitation.”

Read the full article here.

ALF! You know, from the ‘80s?

Lovable ‘80s TV alien ALF is headed for the big screen according to his creator Paul Fusco, who tells The Hollywood Reporter:

“ALF could be more outspoken now than ever, because the world is a whole different place than the '80s. And I think the character still stands up and certainly has more to say now than ever,” he says. “I think we would approach it in a fresh way. I don’t think we would duplicate the TV show, but I think we would maybe put it in a storyline where we would explain how ALF got here and put him with a new family and let the character speak for himself.”

Read more about the history – and possible future – of ALF, here.

Sticking with the ‘80s theme...

Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats... ho!!!

This is old news (it was first reported in February of last year), but I’ve never mentioned it on Silver Screen Saucers until now. Five years ago, Warner Bros. Pictures announced it would be producing a big screen CGI adaptation of the 1980s animated TV series, ThunderCats. However, the project got lost in development hell, and there it remains to this day. Fans of the heroic alien cat-people thingies might be interested in the following test footage for the movie that found its way online last year (don’t get excited, though. It’s naff)...

The best alien invasion movie ever?!

Last but not least, visionary filmmakers Michael Bay (Transformers) and Peter Berg (Battleship) have teamed-up to bring us their dream project ;-) Could this be the greatest alien invasion movie ever? View the trailer here...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hollywood's Aliens After Disclosure

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade, and Vince Vaughn in The Watch.

A new trailer for alien invasion comedy The Watch features Ben Stiller and fellow Frat Packer Vince Vaughn repeatedly shooting the seemingly lifeless body of an extraterrestrial before taking it home and using it as the centerpiece of an alcohol-fuelled party... 

This got me thinking... in an After Disclosure world (assuming an AD world could one day exist - and a hat tip here to Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel), how might cinema audiences respond to The Watch and other movies of its ilk? If, at some point - perhaps in our near future - we have an affirmative and universally accepted answer to the age old question: "Are we alone?", might Hollywood think twice about depicting extraterrestrials as soulless things that exist only to be shot and tortured for shits and giggles?

In an AD world - regardless of the true nature and intent of the UFO occupants themselves - much of Hollywood's back-catalogue of UFO/alien movies will, I suspect, make for deeply uncomfortable and shameful viewing.

As Ben Stiller and his comedy cohorts delight in posing for photographs with an almost-dead, captive alien in this latest trailer, I couldn't help but think - dare I say it - of Abu Ghraib and similar wartime atrocities around the world inflicted by Western troops. Obviously, Stiller and Co. are all for pushing the boundaries of taste, and I have no problem with that... up to a point. Would audiences be laughing quite so hard at The Watch's 'photoshoot' scene if an almost-dead human being were sat in that chair? Just sayin'.

NOTE: If the trailer embedded above should be removed from YouTube, you can view it here instead.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Dinosaurs vs. Aliens': new details emerge

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Men in Black 3 director Barry Sonnenfeld has revealed more details about his next alien-themed silver screen project. As reported last year, Sonnenfeld has teamed-up with comic book writer Grant Morrison to develop a graphic novel and movie sharing the same name: Dominion: Dinosaurs Versus Aliens, which will chronicle a secret, prehistoric battle for the Earth.

Chatting with io9recently, Sonnenfeld addressed concerns that audiences might find it difficult to relate to his dinosaur protagonists: “First, we have to sell the project,” said the director. “We're going out to LA in about 6 weeks with a pre-vis and our script, to see who wants to buy into it. We've already had lots of ideas. The aliens speak in a way [that] you can understand them. And the dinosaurs — they actually have a certain amount of culture, through grunts and doing stuff with their bodies and sticks. We believe that the Dinosaurs had culture. They didn't speak, but they did have other ways of communicating. It won't be a problem, and it will be pretty fantastic.”

Dino-culture? Yep, apparently so. Sonnenfeld says his movie’s dinosaurs are “very smart... possibly the way they really were. They have rudimentary things, but they learn as they go along from the aliens.”

Yes, it sounds completely bonkers; however, the idea of animal characters utilizing non-verbal communication methods to carry a movie is certainly intriguing and was used to stunning effect in Rise of the Planet of the Apes – arguably one of the best Hollywood movies of 2011.

We can only speculate as to what else Dinosaurs vs. Aliens has in store for us. Will the dinosaurs defeat their alien invaders only to be wiped out later by an asteroid? Or will the movie postulate that ETs were responsible for the great dino-extinction? Watch this space, and expect a 2014 release.

Monday, May 21, 2012

'Men in Black 3' reviews

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Image credit:

A selection of early critics’ reviews for Men in Black 3 is now viewable over at At the time of writing, the movie has a “fresh” rating of 67% on the Tomatometer, but this will almost certainly change as more reviews pour in. 

Here’s a snapshot of the decidedly mixed reviews so far... 

"Few things in life are worth waiting a decade for, and this isn't one of them, but after witnessing so many big-screen sci-fi comebacks go so hideously wrong in recent years, Men In Black 3 emerges as something of a triumph."

Jordan Farley

"There’s a disheartening lack of wit throughout... despite some good moments, Agents J, O and K are missing an E."

William Thomas

"Although it still remains the threequel nobody was demanding to see, Men in Black III works as a solid creature feature filled with memorable performances and remarkable visual effects."

Matthew Pejkovik

"In a summer hardly starved of comic-book properties, this redundant extension of a series that ran out of gas a decade ago doesn't need a neuralyzer to be forgettable."

Neil Smith

"There is genuine heart in the reteaming of J and K, certainly sufficient to warrant MIB3's existence; enough, perhaps, to even trumpet it."

Simon Foster

Men in Black 3 hits cinemas May 25.

Visitor Group

We had another good visitor group out here this week.  It's an interesting class at the University of Hawaii-Hilo.  It's a marine biology class but with a strong emphasis on native Hawaiian culture.  Basically, they are learning to use cultural knowledge and observations in addition to the things that they learn in class or books.  They've been getting up to start the day with a chant at sunrise, and also end the day with a chant at sunset.  They also had individual projects and gave presentations last night.

We missed out on the solar eclipse today.  I guess you had to be further north to catch it. 

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway is coming up in a couple of weeks so we're keeping pretty busy getting ready for that.  It won't be a large celebration, but we will have some veterans of the battle coming out.

Here's an updated photo of the Short-tailed albatross chick on Eastern Island.  It will probably only be around for a few more weeks.  It looks a lot like the Black-footed albatross chick behind it, but quite a bit bigger.

 You can tell it's getting warm again, because most of the adult albatross are going for the shade.

 Here's another shady spot for the albatross.  A lot of the chicks stay where they are and don't go to the shade.
A Masked booby is sitting on the pier on Eastern Island.

 A squid washed up on the beach.  It was about 18" long and was the biggest one I've seen washed up.

 This was the old Commanding Officer's desk from the Navy days.  It was in the abandoned hangar and the termites started getting to it, so it was taken out, refinished, and now will be in the Refuge Manager's office.  I'm glad to see it getting use.

The UH Hilo group is painting the FWS visitor center.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Alien movies battle for box-office top spot

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Alien invasion movie Battleship has been torpedoed at the US box-office in its opening weekend by alien invasion movie The Avengers – still sitting pretty at the #1 spot after three weeks on release. Deadline has compared Battleship’s US opening to that of the disastrous John Carter, noting that the star of both movies – Taylor Kitsch – might soon be asking: “You want fries with that?”

Battleship’s weekend box-office estimate is just $25 million (that’s 5 million short of John Carter’s opening weekend!), compared to The Avengers’ $55 million. Luckily for director Peter Berg, Battleship has already hauled in $230 million internationally, thus making a profit – albeit a measly one – on Universal’s $209 million investment. Less fortunate for studio and director are Battleship’s wince-inducing international critics’ reviews, which reached the US well in advance of the movie’s stateside docking this weekend and are now causing American cinemagoers to abandon ship.

As for The Avengers, Joss Whedon’s superhero extravaganza is set to become the highest grossing domestic release in Disney’s history. It is already the studio’s highest grossing movie of all time globally, and, with $1.1 billion to its name at the worldwide box office, is currently the fourth highest grossing movie of all time. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Battleship!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Life on Venus in ‘Beyond Apollo’?

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Barry Malzberg's award-winning sci-fi thriller novel Beyond Apollo is being adapted for the big screen by writer/director Michael Grodner and executive producer Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In).

Here’s the synopsis for Beyond Apollo as presented on the movie’s official website:

“The first two-man mission to Venus is aborted in mid-flight and abruptly returns back to Earth. When rescue crews go to retrieve the space capsule, they make a startling discovery: The Captain is missing – there is no sign of his body whatsoever – and strangely enough, the lone surviving astronaut has no clue about what took place.

Beyond Apollo tells the riveting story of when that astronaut, Harry Evans, returns to earth and must answer to the authorities about what really happened on board the doomed flight to Venus. His mind-bending struggle to figure that out is a harrowing journey through the possibilities: Was the Captain murdered? Did he commit suicide? Or were alien beings responsible for his demise? The answer, as Evans will eventually discover, is far more terrifying than anything he could possibly imagine.

Based on the award winning book by Barry N. Malzberg, Beyond Apollo captures the eerie isolation of delving into the unknown, begs us to ask the unanswerable, and marks the separation between the real, unreal and surreal.”

Pre-production artwork for Beyond Apollo. Image credit:

First published in 1972, Beyond Apollo is Malzberg’s most famous novel and in 1973 became the first recipient of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

The cast list for Beyond Apollo is still developing, but so far includes Scott Speedman (Underworld), Bill Pullman (Independence Day) and Ali Larter (Heroes). The movie has been in development for several years but has lacked sufficient funding. Now, with the backing of sales company Stealth Media Group, principal photography is due to begin this fall. Expect a 2014 release.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

'Prometheus': new poster & viral video

Silver Screen Saucers

New viral video for Ridley Scott's Prometheus, featuring Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw...

And a new international poster for the movie leaves little to the imagination...

SETI astronomer discusses 'Battleship'

Silver Screen Saucers

SETI astronomer Seth Shostak spoke to recently about his involvement in Hollywood's newest alien invasion movie, Battleship, and discussed the problems inherent in our making contact with extraterrestrials.

Read the interview here...


'Battleship' director: "You gotta join the army, motherf**ker!"

'Battleship': Silver Screen Saucers Review

'Men in Black 3' aliens featurette

Silver Screen Saucers

New MIB 3 featurette goes behind the scenes with legendary Hollywood 'monster maker' Rick Baker and gets up close and personal with the movie's aliens...


President Obama tells Will Smith's son: "I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials"!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

President Obama tells Will Smith's son: "I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials"!

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Men in Black 3 star Will Smith today told BBC Radio 1 host Chris Moyles that his 13-year-old son Jayden (himself a Hollywood star) put President Obama on the spot recently during a private tour of the White House. The subject of Jayden’s enquiry – aliens!

Remarkably, Obama anticipated Jayden’s question before the young star even had chance to ask it, and the President’s response was suitably tantalising:

“The aliens, right? OK, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials but I can tell you if there had been a top secret meeting and if there would have had to have been a discussion about it, it would have taken place in this room.”

Watch the video of Will Smith’s accounting of his son’s Presidential UFO encounter here...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

'Falling Skies' season 2 promo art

Silver Screen Saucers

New promotional poster art for Falling Skies season 2 (via Entertainment Weekly)...

The two-hour first episode of Falling Skies season 2 premieres June 17th. Here's a three-minute taster clip...

'Battleship' director: "You gotta join the army, motherf**ker!"

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Battleship helmer Peter Berg was interviewed recently by Israeli reporter Jason Danino-Holt. The idea was for Berg to promote his new movie, which sees invading aliens face-off against the US Navy. However, the director was more interested in voicing his opinions on US/Israeli foreign policy in regard to Iran.

In the bizarre interview, Berg challenges the 25-year-old Holt on his military record, asking the reporter if he has served in the Israeli military -- a requirement for Israeli citizens.

When Holt answers "no", the ultra-militaristic Berg is displeased: "What?! How did you get out of that? Are you a draft dodger?... You gotta join the army, motherf**ker!"

The video speaks for itself and also goes a long way towards explaining the remorseless violation of the cinematic medium that is Battleship...

Battleship docks in US cinemas May 18. Read my full review of the movie here...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and to all the other mothers who read this too!  I hope no one minds that I'm always a day behind on my holidays.  I guess that's one of the negatives about being in the last time zone

It's been beautiful this week so it finally dried out.  The sun was out, it wasn't too hot, and there was hardly any wind.  The volunteers have been keeping busy with the albatross chick banding, and Ive been keeping busy on the computer.  I found a few minutes to get out and see some things though.  I'll explain more in the photo captions.

This is one of our Black-footed albatross plots.  The volunteers have banded pretty much all of the black-footed albatross chicks, but have quite a few Laysan chicks to go.

 Here's an adult black-footed albatross.  It wasn't doing anything too exciting, but hte light was kind of nice.

There are a lot of white terns putting eggs everywhere.  This one found some old bedframes in the Ski Warehouse to lay it's egg.

This is the white tern chick that I showed you a couple of weeks ago under its parent.  It looks like it's still doing ok.

 It was too nice of a day to pass up a boat trip today.  The water was about as flat as it gets.  This is a marker that ships use to align themselves to make it through the channel cut in the coral.  The dark spot on the right side of the picture is a spotted eagle ray.  We saw a few of them today.  We also saw a manta ray, which I got a few underwater pictures of, but they were a little far away.

 This is the USS Macaw (ASR-11).  Today was the first time I had a chance to swim down and see it.  There's a really interesting story to this wreck.  It was a submarine rescue ship which tried to rescue the submarine USS Flier (SS-250), which had run aground in bad weather.  It ran aground too.  The weather was terrible and 5 sailors died during the weeks that it was grounded. They ended up having to use explosives to demolish the ship to clear the channel.  This bow section is relatively intact, but the rest of the ship is strewn all over the bottom.  Here are some quick links to some photos and accounts.

 I checked out a few new spots today.  There were a lot of whitebar surgeonfish and convict tangs following me around.

 The yellow tangs really brighten things up.

 The dolphins came to check out the boat, as usual.  I got a couple of pictures by putting my camera over the side.

I was going really slow, so the dolphins were swimming only a foot or two in front of the bow.

Friday, May 11, 2012

'The Avengers' & Hollywood apocalypse post-9/11

Silver Screen Saucers

A fascinating Guardian article by J Hoberman looking at Hollywood's depictions of war and domestic disaster post-9/11 - inspired by the recent release of alien invasion/super hero movie, The Avengers...

The Avengers: Why Hollywood is no longer afraid to tackle 9/11


'Battleship': Silver Screen Saucers review

The Power Behind the Screen

An Offer They Couldn't Refuse (CIA in Hollywood)

Hollywood Propaganda Post-9/11

Scarlett Johansson in 'Under the Skin': first official image

Here’s the first official look at Scarlett Johansson in upcoming alien movie Under the Skin... reports that Johansson, taking her direction from Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast), plays an alien on earth, disguised as the perfect aesthetic form of a mesmerizing woman. She scours remote highways and desolate scenery looking to use her greatest weapon to snare human prey -- her voracious sexuality. She is deadly efficient, but over time becomes drawn to and changed by the complexity of life on earth. With this new found humanity and weakening alien resolve, she finds herself on a collision course with her own kind.”

Under the Skin is due for release later this year, though an exact date has yet to be set.

New 'Men in Black 3' featurette

Silver Screen Saucers

New MIB 3 featurette focuses on Will Smith's 'Agent J'...

Men in Black 3 hits cinemas May 25.


Movies, Music & Men in Black

Ridley Scott: great director, bad astronomer?

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

A new extended featurette for Ridley Scott’s upcoming blockbuster Prometheus looks at ancient aliens and reveals new footage from the movie.

Also notable – and somewhat bizarre – is that Scott says that the aliens’ home world of Zeta(2) Reticuli is “an existing moon just off Io.” Say what?? Surely Scott is aware that Io itself is a moon – and not an extra-solar one either, but rather belonging to Jupiter?

As noted yesterday here on Silver Screen Saucers, the Zeta Reticuli system is located around 39 light years from Earth (and is also thought by many in the UFO community to be home to the “Greys”). But perhaps Scott was momentarily confused, or maybe the facts got fudged in the featurette’s editing process. In any case, I think it’s pretty unlikely that Prometheus and her crew will be paying a visit to Jupiter this June. They’ll be meeting their makers much farther afield.

Watch the new featurette over at