I don't normally associate the Olympic Games with science fiction, but watching the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics on TV tonight, I couldn't help but get a strong SF vibe.
The pageant was full of the expected singing and dancing and other performances, special effects and speechifying. Some, like the light-show orcas and the poetry slam guy, were great. Other stuff... meh. And some, like a bloated KD Lang in a white suit looking scarily like Elvis (or, if that outfit had sequins, maybe Liberace), just downright surreal. But that's to be expected.
What I didn't expect to see was the full-blown in-your-face sci-finess at the lighting of the Olympic Flame. And I'm not talking about the multitude of flame-lighters that included The Great One and The Man In Motion. They weren't remotely SF. No, I'm talking about the appearance of the flame cauldron itself - or, at least once most of the hydraulic problems were corrected (but not all - only 3 of the 4 struts around the centrepiece ended up working) and it lurched into action. A towering centrepiece surrounded by three angled struts, shining like huge ice crystals (before they were set alight).
Did anybody else at that moment join me in saying out loud: Holy shit! That thing looks like the Fortress of Solitude from in Superman: The Movie!
And, if you didn't say it out lout, weren't you at least thinking it? Or getting a weird SFish sense of deja vu?
All you have to do is take a look at some photos or video. Here's a link to the Global BC news site, with Gretzky standing in front of the display. Now, click over to Youtube for a recap of the scene where young Clark tosses the green Kryptonian crystal into the ice. How could you not watch those struts heaving themselves up from the floor of BC Place stadium and not get a flashback to young Supe's new digs erupting from the ice of Canada's North Pole?
The whole time I sat there watching this thing lurch into place I was just waiting for a big giant holograph of Marlon Brado's head to appear and start mumbling: "It is forbidden for you to interefere in the course of human history."
Really? Even just a little? Just for a minute or two to get a gold medal in hockey? No? Well, okay then. Fine.
Let the 2010 Winter Olympic Games on Krypton - er, in Vancouver begin!