Monthly Archives: June 2012

Matthew Guy’s Ventnor Advice

I don’t have time for a detailed post about Matthew Guy’s extraordinary decision to tell DPCD to change its advice to him about the Ventnor rezoning. But then, who needs one? Thanks to the good work of the opposition and The Age, the facts are now out in the open, and they speak for themselves. You wonder why he couldn’t just disregard the advice, rather than seeking for it to be changed… But then this kind of stuff, like Madden’s Windsor debacle before it, defies explanation. As I said then, good governance would actually be the canny political strategy in these instances.

I did, however, want to make one quick point about Guy’s conduct here that I haven’t seen made anywhere else, and that’s the contrast between the approach of the state government versus local government in a situation such as this. At state government level, the Minister can direct the Department to change its advice and top bureaucrats will acquiesce. In considering how bad a piece of behaviour that is by the Minister, it is worth considering that if he had been a councillor in local government, his request would have been not just poor governance, but actually illegal.

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Alien Revisitation

Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012)

Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction, thirty years after Blade Runner, would be a big deal on its own. That he has returned with a revisitation of the universe of his other science fiction classic, Alien, makes this an even more enticing prospect. Yet there’s a reason the trailers have soft-pedalled the connection to the 1979 film: Prometheus is quite a different film in both intent and execution.

It takes place before Alien, and follows a deep space mission to find a star system that had been depicted in ancient cave paintings. Led by archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and the improbably icy project sponsor Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), the mission hopes to uncover secrets about Earth’s origins. The team lands on a moon, finds and enters an ancient alien structure, and undertakes an orderly, well organised series of explorations in relative safety things start to go disastrously wrong.

Scott’s original Alien took a very similar opening set-up and turned it into a single-minded exercise in suspense and occasional visceral horror. Prometheus, commendably, is more ambitious. There’s a strong element of Alien-style menace, but Scott also wants to have a try at more thoughtful, idea-driven science-fiction. The film works to some extent on both fronts, but never really gels as a whole: it’s a film more interesting and laudable for what it attempts than what it actually manages.

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