Saturday, 13 April 2013

Oblivion as a Charlton Heston movie mashup

There are few good Science Fiction movies lately, that I should be grateful for Oblivion. Stunning visuals, intriguing setting and a steady pace are the main theme of Sci-Fi films coming out this last decade. The most apt description of Oblivion (at least for this film buff) is, a Charlton Heston Sci-fi mash up. Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and The Omega Man had the same connection: the angry-lone-survivor (portrayed by Heston) fighting his way through a dystopic land. And this is what that movie riffs on. Survival and vengeance. The remnants of New York city monuments (Planet of the Apes), the hero in constant agony (Soylent Green) and the nuclear couple (The Omega Man), are this mash up's vocals. 
The supporting cast (Freeman, Coster-Waldau and Bell) is dwarfed by Cruise's macho acting and each actor offers only a snipet of the character that could probably be developed in the original Comic Book,

...which never was:

"Radical Comics allowed me to continue working on the story by developing a series of images and continuing to refine the story more over a period of years. Then I basically used all that development as a pitch kit to the studio. So even though we really never released it as an illustrated novel the story is being told as a film, which was always the intention."

According to Bleeding Cool (who offered an advanced preview of the "comic" a long time ago), due to a screenwriter's strike, the film was suposedly developed as a Graphic Novel, that was then going to be adapted for the screen, just to keep the film's hype alive. 
Something similar happened with Aronofsky's The Fountain, and his forthcoming Noah film. I just happen to prefer Aronofsky's  films after all...

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry

The sad news about Iain Banks are reported on the official blog:

"I am officially Very Poorly. [...] So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last. [...]This website was set up so family and fans can leave messages for me and check on my progress."

His book feel like real people to me. Some make you uncomfortable just being in the same room with ("Use of Weapons"), others I will visit again like long-lost relatives ("Espedair Street").

My first contact with hiw writings was his "A Few Notes on the Culture" essay. Read it and see if you'd like to become involved with his sublime writings.

And this is how I choose to remember him:

Monday, 1 April 2013

(The) Star Wars and Alternate History

Today's news of a comic book adaptation from George Lucas' 1974 -Star Wars/ First Draft-, titled "The Star Wars", brought back memories, and thoughts of what-might-'ve-been. Many reports later, it seems that Dark Horse Comics is going back to that relic, adapting it in 8 issues this fall (September 2013). The initial look of SW owes much to Ralph McQuarrie's concept art, which seems to be the direction this adaptation is taking.

My first glimpse of Ralph McQuarrie's work on Star Wars was The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. His visionary work on Threepio (influenced by Lang's Metropolis) and the iconic lightsaber duel between diver-suit-armored Skywalker and undead-android Vader were lost on my 12-year-old brain. More than 15 years later his work seems like a piece of alternate history demanding to happen. Lucas filmed THX 1138 as a nod to dystopic fiction (1984) and Star Wars as an homage(?) to the Flash Gordon serials. If Jaws never happened perhaps Star Wars would have been closer to McQuarries' and Lucas' original vision. Fingers crossed that the DH adaptation will be that good...

Here is a gallery of Ralph McQuarrie's Star Wars:

Druillet's vision of Star Wars:

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Fan-films and the Franchise

"This is what we laughingly refer to as a plan, right?" - Lenny Nero from "Strange Days"

These are strange days in the film industry.

Franchises long forgotten don't seem to die (hard enough), while newer ones are slaughtered in the box office. The recent Dredd film, a vigorous and faithful adaptation of the eponymous anti-hero, offered a glimpse of what could have been. The film's producer confirmed that there won't be a Dredd sequel, but an officiallly-unofficial-non-profit-fan-film (like the Thomas Jane-Punisher short, #DIRTYLAUNDRY) is eventually going to happen.

The Dredd fan-film has actually happened a while ago, in the form of Judge Minty:

And blogging about franchises and pipe dreams, the Games Workshop properties (that is Warhammer & Warhammer 40K) have been a fan's wet dream for a long time. Or ever since Peter Jackson proved that he could make his come true. 
"Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie" had the same fate with Dredd, if not worse, due to its nonexistent cinematic release. 

Two Warhammer 40K fan-films (both, still in production) have surfaced:

And while some franchises are about to release their Nth ยบ sequel, others seem to be in the state of Fight Club, where we shall "not talk about" them...