How to turn your passion for art into a career in Bangladesh

It is a difficult question to grapple with if you are a creative person aspiring to make a living out of your passion in arts and culture. Even if you are not directly affected by the issue, much like any other public service arena, the impact will trickle down to your immediate way of living in one way or another in society.

No matter how we go about in finding answers to this question, the reality seems so far removed from what we are used to considering in terms of future job and career prospects.

Every option seems a stretch.

More of a fantastical whim than an actual possibility that can be worked into reality with a little bit of elbow grease, as one might assume about building a career in the mainstream industries.

There are pre-established routes to take. Students and people who want to traverse these paths have arguably reliable models to emulate as they go about aiming to achieve the career they desire. The more conventional careers have been tried and tested more often and are talked about frequently. As a result, there’s more awareness about these industries and people feel that they have more access to the resources required to make themselves qualified for the field.

The elephant in the room

Addressing these issues, a panel discussion was held at EMK Centre on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. Esteemed dancer and founder of a leading dance school Shadhona, Lubna Marium, cartoonist and founder of Cartoon People Imam Rashad Tonmoy and News Presenter Ayesha Mahmud talked about their struggles and challenges as each of them went about pursuing their career.

One aspect remained constant among all of their stories despite each of them belonging to different parts of the art and culture field: It is incredibly difficult to establish a career in the arts and one will have to work hard and persevere only to get the minimal amount of respect and validation and to be taken seriously. 

“Merely saying that I draw cartoons for a living usually makes people laugh. Or they ask, no but what do you do for real?”

Cartoonist Tonmoy talks about society’s expectation of serious-sounding job titles in order to gain importance as a person involved in a real career.

“From a young age, we are taught how important professions in science, engineering, medicine and business are in the world. If we had the same education on the need and significance of art and culture in a society’s development, then we could expect to be treated fairly”.

He traces back the roots of these problems to a lack of awareness and the sheer absence of the importance of art and culture in education.

Lubna Marium told a story about a talented and polished dancer she had met who worked for a well-renowned dance company in the USA, called Spectrum. When asked about how she made a living, she said that she barely made any money working for Spectrum. Her main income was dependent on after hours and weekends when she danced Cabaret at a local bar.

To this Tonmoy added, “Many believe that it is easier to be an artist in the West. To that, I say, even if pay might be better abroad, the expenses are also higher. Moreover, the competition is much stiffer and cutthroat thereby reducing your chances of success even further. However, one thing that may be better in foreign countries is the respect and validation you might achieve for your work.”

What are the alternate options?

It is indeed true that when it comes to earning a living, many talented, hardworking and passionate creatives have relied on other jobs to make money. One common advice is to search for a job that will allow you to earn a decent monetary income to support your lifestyle as well as the requirements for your artistic pursuit eg, studio space, art supplies etc. Most importantly, the job must not drain you of the emotional and mental energy required for you to immerse yourself in your art.

In this case, a trade-off must be made and an aspiring artist may be better off by doing a job that is not engaging and maybe even meaningless if it means they are able to go home at night and paint or wake up early in the morning to rehearse.

It is easy to fall down a rabbit hole of hopelessness when sculpting out a career in the arts. But the youth must be reminded to pay attention to middle grounds and opportunities to become self-sufficient without resorting to throwing themselves into a career far and away from their true desire. Arguably, it might be more difficult to drop out of a successful, established career to finally devote yourself to your true calling than it is to maintain a less than satisfying job for a certain period of time and still being able to actively work or search for work in the field of your choice.

To elaborate on this, someone who dreams of being a writer may take up a job where he or she has to write catalogues for a company or content for their website. If you are an artist without any gallery representation, perhaps you can get a job as a school art teacher or a private art tutor. If films are your dream, a job in advertising may teach you a lot.

What should also be considered is that many of the creative practices and faculties of the brain required for arts and culture may, in fact, be employable and lucrative in corporate culture as well. It is said that often experience in an unrelated field, may lend you a unique perspective which could then further your career in the arts and culture.

Not everybody will have the chance or the privilege to work sustainably in art and culture. It is inevitable that there will be many going down the lines of business, branding, healthcare and teaching only because they have insurmountable bills to pay and families to support. Additionally, the mental angst and pressure of uncertainty in the field can be damaging to many people’s lives.

Finding a way to channel your passion

Even in such cases, I would like to say there is still hope for them to return to the arts at a later point in their career. Over the last year, as I have covered numerous art exhibitions as a reporter, I have come across a painter who gave up her career to be a homemaker, only to be encouraged to exhibit her art by her children twenty years later. I have seen works by people whom I assumed to be full-time artists. Yet, I found out they held down unrelated jobs but made time to dedicate to their art as they grew older.

As Ayesha Mahmud said, “Whoever persists in their career in this line of work, must have an immense amount of courage.” The world of art and culture is not made easy anywhere. However, those that are truly interested in seeing the development and furthering of the arts must take the responsibility of facilitating other artists and be as welcoming as possible to outsiders.

“Mr Scorsese, you are a great filmmaker but you’re terribly wrong about the MCU”

First things first: regardless of what anyone says about your favourite film franchise, it will not diminish in value in your heart.

This was a necessary reminder to myself as I began to pen this article hoping to defend my unwavering love of MCU against comments made by the filmmakers of the most legendary films I know of including The Godfather and Taxi Driver.

When the likes of Scorsese and Coppola disparage everyone’s favourite superhero universe, it may sting at first but you can accept it, agree to disagree with it and leave it at that. But what might be worth exploring is the Hollywood cinema landscape, where it stands as of today, the role that Marvel plays in shaping its experience and what may have lead Oscar-winning filmmakers to make such comments.

Martin Scorsese: “That’s not cinema. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being,”

I remember watching Iron Man in 2008, the first time in the theatre. I loved every second of it and left enthralled. I was hooked from then onwards. This is the case for thousands of other fans but it is also true that Marvel fandom craze has increased exponentially with the never-ending release of one blockbuster film after another with captivating storylines, mature character developments and finally the integration and overlap of different superheroes’ lives and their ensuing character conflicts and chemistries in the Avengers films.

Since 2008, the MCU has seen award-winning actors and critically acclaimed filmmakers taking part in its films. Right from the very start with the likes of Robert Downey Jr. to Benedict Cumberbatch of more recent years. The franchise has also seen Hollywood giants such as Cate Blanchett and Jake Gyllenhaal take leading one-off roles in their films.

I say this because the kind of mainstream, general mass adoration that the MCU enjoys, objectively one wouldn’t think that it would attract a certain brand of “serious” actors. At the same time, when Marvel manages to secure established artists, it is a validation of the quality of content being produced by the studios we love to love. Not to mention that nearly all Marvel films have received favourable critic reviews.

Understanding the MCU effect

To put into context the cultural significance of MCU, Todd Phillips has been quoted saying “You can’t beat Marvel — it’s a giant behemoth. Let’s do something they can’t do.” To his immense credit, he has managed to make a film that is critical of many aspects of society, including its treatment of the poor and mentally ill and subsequently displays the horrifying reality that might in. Aided by Joaquin Pheonix’s soul-crushing performance, many have been compelled to called Joker a masterpiece.

Read more: Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

It is not just nagging children and their parents who are forced to pay attention to Marvel’s latest releases. Instead, the franchise has been successful in making people from all backgrounds heavily, emotionally invested. As a result, the effects have forced players in the surrounding film industry to put MCU at the forefront of their minds.

Where does the cinematic value lie?

There are are a  few things to consider here. One that there is truth to Scorsese’s words about Marvel movies having a “theme park” like quality to them. It is every bit a larger than life experience that all but immerses the viewer into the superhero worlds themselves.

However, the fact that it is all these things neither necessarily diminishes the cinematic value of these films nor its effectiveness in storytelling. Captain America: Civil War struck a chord with the public in terms of the push and pull countries across the world experience with authorities and governing bodies. Most people will tell you that Thanos’ reasoning in the last two Avengers movies made sense to them.

At the end of the day, yes, the films are black and white.

You have the heroes to support and you have the monsters to be defeated. But through them, nothing prevents the authenticity of stories and the connection people feel to them from emerging.

Being somewhat of a film nerd, I have spent hours reading and watching interviews of various actors, directors and writers. If there is one thing I have learnt, it is that those who make the films which might make you laugh at their nonsensical premises, maybe some of the most intuitive and intelligent people you come across who are also more attuned with their audience. There is a particular kind of skill, intelligence and art to creating something that has the possibility of resonating with the majority and this is something that gets wildly ignored.

Even a movie that is filled with what may seem like pointless action and romance that doesn’t fit into the storyline can still manage to dole out a message to the public that is incredibly timely and important.

Bollywood director Rohit Shetty’s (known for films such as Golmaal and Dilwale) latest film Simmba is a perfect example of that. In the movie, a corrupt police officer played by Ranveer Singh goes through a change of heart and is compelled to fulfil his responsibilities when he learns of a rape case. Ultimately, the movie delivers some powerful dialogue in favour of women’s rights and harsh steps needed to be taken against sexual harassers.

Read more: Everything that’s wrong with Kabir Singh and why you should not enjoy it

Coppola: “When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.”

I find it ironic that these stalwarts make such comments about films which are supposed to be a public service completely oblivious to how they come off as gatekeepers to a community of storytelling. It is unnecessary to mention it, but I will get the fact out of the way that they are entitled to their own opinions.

Historically we have seen established greats in any field be critical of the things that manage to garner mainstream attention. It has happened in literature, it continually occurs in visual art and so it shouldn’t be surprising that MCU is now facing this backlash. However, I would normally expect such filmmakers to completely ignore the existence of movies which they do not believe qualify as cinema.

The fact that Avengers: Endgame stands as the highest-grossing film of all time cannot be ignored in this scenario. The previous record-holder, Avatar, did not have 14 films to its franchise to garner this kind of response. Additionally, it has been said Scorsese had to fight his way through to get funding for his latest film, The Irishman starring Robert De Niro.

By the people, for the people?

I will make another case for this line of criticism. It is glaringly true that quality art is not necessarily rewarded with money in our world. This is an issue we find ourselves grappling with on the daily and will especially resonate with those who want to see better films being produced in our very own Bangladeshi industry. At the end of the day, the content that gets mass-circulated are the ones that the public wants to see.

When Coppola says that we expect to be inspired and learn something from the movies we watch, he is a hundred per cent correct.

What is incorrect is his implication that Marvel films fail to do any of that.

I can understand how it may seem that way to someone like him, but the reality is that he falls in an incredibly tight minority. Many people will agree that you require a certain level of education, awareness of films and literature and mental acuity to truly enjoy “high-thought” films. As sad as it may make you, there are too many people today who are not the correct audience for those films. Does that mean what does cater to an audience that is merely different, should be stopped from being produced? Surely not.

MCU will endure and so will cinema

The fact remains that Marvel films continue to touch hearts and inspire millions of people. Equally, there are those who are unaffected by them and expect movies to tell more nuanced stories with less definitive takeaways. While constructive criticism can guide actors, writers and directors to improve upon their work should they choose to, mere disqualification of a certain brand of movies can serve no purpose other than being a voice of one’s personal opinion. In any case, Marvel fans will look forward to Marvel continuing with what they do best.

Read more: What the future of Marvel looks like with Kevin Feige in control

As for those who see the truth in Scorsese and Coppola’s words, Marvel films alone cannot be the sole object of their scrutiny. Rather, a much larger and explorative discussion must be had on the structure of the Hollywood industry and how it can be equally rewarding to diverse forms of storytelling.

What the future of Marvel looks like with Kevin Feige in control

Marvel has gone through several changes throughout its history; with the film rights of many characters sold back and forth between different companies. The Marvel that once was has since evolved into a giant decade-defining cultural phenomenon, not least of which is due to Iron Man which came out in 2008, setting the tone for an unprecedented number of commercially successful movies with favourable critic reviews. A large part of this success is attributed to the late legend Stan Lee. The other part is said to be due to Kevin Feige, then President of Marvel Studios.

On October 15 it was announced that Kevin Feige has been newly assigned as the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel.

This means not only will he continue to be the creative head of Marvel Studios but he is also at the top of the chain of Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Comics. It can be seen as Marvel highlighting Feige’s importance in the company following his near-flawless run with the MCU movies since 2008. Now, Feige will directly answer to the co-chairmen of Disney, Marvel’s parent company.

Avengers: Endgame which went on to be the highest-grossing film worldwide, ever, surpassing Avatar, was a conclusion to many die-hard fans’ journey in the MCU through the lives of its different superheroes, all almost equally lovable, inspiring and somehow believable. Yet as announced in the comic con a few months ago, there remains a lot to look forward to in Marvel’s future.

It is reasonable and perhaps rightly ambitious for the decision-makers at Disney and Marvel to try and convert their success from blockbuster films to other avenues of entertainment and media.

Read more: The DCEU: Does it exist? How the Joker’s success influences it.

Marvel Television

Previously, Marvel television reported to Marvel Entertainment while Marvel Studios reported directly to Disney. For these corporate divides, there has been a lack of continuity among the storylines and the universe in the television shows and the films. For example, Agents of SHIELD Season 6 was released after Avengers: Infinity War, in which half the population of Earth was reduced to dust. However, none of this was referenced in season 6 of the TV show.

Given that now, Feige will be overseeing all aspects of Marvel creative output, there is likely to be overlaps between the characters from films and TV shows along with more streamlining of content.

It has not been long since streaming services have become a cultural need globally. With the rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime, television content has seen a revolutionary change in its development, quality and structure. Even five years ago, it would be difficult to imagine 21 time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep to be acting on television.

It makes sense for Marvel to shift resources and invest in web series and television shows.

Shows such as Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil though have received love from fans and critical praise, none of it amounted to the level as can be expected and hoped for the studios responsible for MCU. Now that Kevin Feige will be in control of Marvel Entertainment instead of making any accommodations for external studios such as ABC, it can be assumed that a better future lies ahead for Marvel TV.

Wanda Vision, The Falcon and Winter Soldier and Hawkeye (pending confirmation) are some of the shows that have been announced to be in production. It will be interesting to see how these characters who seem larger than life on the big screen will translate their performances for shorter runtime episodes, but longer narratives and character arcs. Undoubtedly most fans will be excited to be treated with the increased screen-time to watch their favourite heroes act. At the same time, others will be cautious to see how some of these bold moves will actually follow up to the staggering stories and acting left by the MCU alums. For example, will McKee be able to win over everyone’s hearts as Chris Evans was able to? A large role behind setting Marvel apart from other superhero films has been the absorption of the characters’ essences by the actors into their off-screen lives. In whatever moments we did get to see the likes of RDJ, Evans, Holland, Cumberbatch, Ruffalo, Hiddleston and Hemsworth in their own skin, they seemed every bit as we imagined them as their superhero characters.

Upcoming Marvel films

In case you missed it, here’s the list of upcoming movies for phase 4 in MCU:

  • Black Widow (2020)
  • Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2021)
  • The Eternals (2020)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
  • Blade

Blade reboot

For fans who have been following MCU since the early days, the announcement of the rebooting of the film “Blade” is an iconic one.  This time it will be played by Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali. This has given rise to some speculation and surprise as he has already played a different character in the MCU. In Luke Cage, he appears as Cornell Smith or otherwise known as Cottonmouth, a rival to the show’s protagonist. While there have been other instances of actors playing different roles in MCU, they have been minor roles such as Alfre Woodard who played a sorrowful mother Captain America: Civil War, and also a gangster in Luke Cage.

Fans will also wonder whether this creates an opportunity for other actors who have played different characters in the past to come back in new roles. But if Marvel has made one thing clear in the past, it is that it takes the job of casting very seriously.

While some have expressed concerns over the lack of continuity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since this is the first time an actor who has played the role of a major antagonist will star as the superhero in a film, it has already been decided that the current shows in production for Marvel will not be continued for long in the future. They have either been cancelled or are set to wrap up in the upcoming months. Instead, these changes and announcements made at San Diego Comic-Con all point to the fact that the upcoming phase of Marvel films and TV shows signify a new beginning for MCU with more streamlined content and continuity extending between the different storylines.

The launch of Disney+, Disney’s own streaming service is being combined with the release of these new shows which are bound to see greater reach and impact than previous Marvel shows. One of the astounding aspects of Marvel has been its sheer bravery in tackling the character developments and stories of a wide range of superheroes. It is indeed something to look forward to if it means we will catch a glimpse of the same ambitions in the TV shows.

Diversity in the MCU

Thor

Natalie Portman as Thor alongside Tessa Thompson as King of Asgard will be a force to reckoned with. Additionally, Thompson will be the first Marvel LGBTQ superhero. As of March 2019, Captain Marvel is the one and only female superhero centric film made by Marvel which followed the massively successful DC’s Wonder Woman in 2017. It can now be hoped that more Marvel films will be made focusing on the strengths, eccentricities and uniqueness of women. Given the fact that there is no scarcity of superhero men for children to look up to and emulate, it is high time that young girls are offered the same possibility.

Black Widow

Black Widow who is already a character that has won and broken millions of hearts is finally, deservedly getting her own origins film. Set to release in 2020, fans who remember the fleeting moments of her past we were shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron, will look forward to discovering more about her real life, back story and how she came about to get the name “Black Widow”.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be the first Asian American superhero film played by Simu Liu, known for playing in the Canadian sitcom, Kim’s Convenience. Shang-Chi is said to be produced with a similar motive behind that which made Black Panther a cultural phenomenon in terms of representation for minorities. Shang-Chi is a superhero originally created in 1972 when kung-fu films were made immensely popular in America by actors such as Bruce Lee.

Eternals

The ensemble cast of The Eternals, yet another Marvel movie in production, includes Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American actor which may be the first time we a see a Brown actor as a major superhero character. Aside from that, Marvel has been pushing them hard as the big supergroup next to the Avengers. While most of that was due in part to make up for the absence of X-men from their film universe; the purchase of Fox has landed X-Men back at Marvel. So it will be interesting to see where that takes the Eternals project.

Directors of the Upcoming Films

It is said that diversity will be promoted behind the screen as well for Marvel films as the directors of the upcoming announced movies feature women and people of colour. We hope the dedication to diversity is a dedication to quality as well.

Disney now has Fox and X men

While Fox has managed to produce some gems that will forever remain in fans’ minds, most people will be itching to see the complex X-men characters’ immense potential to be tapped into by Marvel studios. Though there have been no conclusive announcements as such for X-men movies in Marvel Studios yet, this will definitely be an arena to look into for Marvel’s future.

Marvel Comics

Things are looking up for Marvel comics since Feige is clearly a comic book fan. Ike Perlmutter who previously had more control does not share the same reputation. However, avid comic book readers share some concerns.

Some fear that in a bid to make comic book sales increase, Marvel might consider rebooting and reviving the comic book universe entirely. While this has happened before for certain storylines, most readers feel that it is worth continuing the previously written stories.

It is also feared that due to the massive success of MCU, certain changes are being reflected upon in the comics.

The style has been said to aesthetically resemble the MCU throughout the more recent issues. It is sad if the comics start imitating the films since the films in the first place owe their roots, stories and characters to the comic books.

It would be interesting to see how Marvel can attract the potential comic book readers among the MCU fans with the changes it could make, keeping in mind that the original, hard-core fans of Marvel comics are a completely different kind of audience.

Aside from being heartbroken by the ending of Avengers: Endgame, many fans were also fearing whether this was some sort of a goodbye to Marvel as a whole. But with all their new announcements in San Diego Comic-Con followed by the promotion of Kevin Feige, Marvel has made clear that not only will they continue their run of great storytelling, but they are about to diversify and branch out which is sure to bring forward a much-anticipated phase 4.

Avengers: Endgame is the beautiful goodbye that we deserved

Marvel Cinematic Universe has many films still lined up in production, with Spiderman: Far Away from Home due to hit the screens in just six weeks. We know that Black Panther will get a sequel and another Guardians of the Galaxy film should also be underway. But in many ways, some would say in the most crucial and substantial ways, Avengers: Endgame is a conclusion to a broad and hefty storyline, birthed in small bursts throughout a decade.

Read more: A roadmap to Endgame: Everything you need to know

Where they stand now

The film opens to a morose aftermath of Thanos’ destruction. Every Avenger is reeling from the loss, the dismantling of their team and family which is what they have proven to become over the years. In some way, every one blames his or herself and nobody blames the other. It is a collective defeat which visibly and understandably has taken an incredible toll on each of them. Their beliefs and everything they stood for have been shattered. Only Hulk can be arguably said to be in a better place and perhaps has find the most harmonious spot in coexisting as both Hulk and Dr. Banner.

Read more: A love letter to MCU from a fan with no ticket

Black Widow is shown that it is all but what she can do to keep hold of herself by constantly communicating with each other, keeping track of their missions and hoping that Rhodes can find her best friend, Agent Barton (Hawk-Eye) who has taken a turn for the worse. Captain America is seen doing what would seem perfect for him if he was not usually busy saving the planet – leading a support group for those who have all lost somebody.

Did Thanos really do the world any good?

In Infinity War, Thanos made a valid point. The world might have been better off with half the population gone. We could assume that half of its problems would disappear too. But the movie shows that as long as people would remain who remember the lost ones, the world would be a living hell for those left behind. Some parts of Earth are also shown in how they have reacted to the change – some have become abandoned and haunted-like, some have erected rows upon rows of pillars with the names of the lost.

Damage-control

The remaining avengers don’t give up hope. (Spoiler Alert: only if you haven’t seen the trailer), the return of Ant-Man gives them all a direction to start working in. Thanos was able to do what he did because he had possession of the six infinity stones which he collected across a couple of movies. If you also remember, in Infinity War, Dr. Strange – the man who has seen 14 million possible future outcomes – willingly gives away the time stone to Thanos. Here is your biggest clue to the reversal of all the damage. Let’s just say that there were a lot of references to time travel movies and not one of them included Marvel’s (not so) very own X-Men Days of Future Past.

Captain Marvel

The pre-release film promotions had placed a lot of hyped on Marvel’s latest addition to its superheroes – Captain Marvel. One could fear that she would in some overpowering way steal the show. But you can rest assured that the people who were there from the beginning are the ones who undoubtedly see their missions to the end. There are a lot of twists and turns, beautiful scenes which serve as short homages to the stories being told for years, the underlying emotions, the character’s developments and the closures that they never got.

A deserving good-bye

What has always made Marvel films great isn’t just that they can tell superhero stories well, or that their action sequences are breathtaking or even that they almost unfailingly deliver the unthinkable each time. For a die-hard fan, the films are protracted distortions of our own realties. Fantastical and mythical, the fact that there are so many different characters ensure that there’s something everyone watching the film can connect to. Watching the film can be transformative in that it’s not just the characters playing out their roles on screen – the same energy can be felt coursing through the viewers themselves.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have both pretty much confirmed that the Endgame would be their last Marvel film. The same can be assumed for Mark Ruffalo and maybe even Chris Hemsworth. Endgame portrays each of these brilliant characters in their own essences, fitting into their perfectly carved shape in the Avengers team. We are far away from the Tony Stark we first saw – the dashing, narcissistic playboy.

Captain America has always shown to have a heart of gold and despite the superhuman alterations to his biology, time and time again, he proves that it is his heart, his goodness and sheer willpower that amplify his strength. A nod to the scene in Infinity War where he singlehandedly is able to stall Thanos, in Endgame too he beseeches the audience with what he is able to accomplish through his worthiness.

Tony Stark and Dr. Banner put their brains together one more time and Avengers: Endgame ends as a story of emotional and physical battle, victory with which must come loss, families being torn apart and families being pieced together. It is a well rounded conclusion to the arc started by Thanos and his quench for what he deems to be peace. The movie’s strengths lie in the usuals – acting, plot, buildup. Additionally, the shooting locations are spectacular and more diverse than Infinity War and it definitely did not seem like a 3 hour long movie. Lastly, the action scenes and the energy with which they reverberate demand that you watch the film on the big screen. 

Verdict

A 4.5 out of 5 rating is fitting for Stan Lee’s last.

Avengers: Endgame pays respect to its origins and the expansive career of the stalwart and manages to avoid cliches in exploring a theme that is well-known in the sci-fi realm.