Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Superman Video

Here's a little video I put together a couple of years ago, which takes the audio portion of the 1960's cartoon "The New Adventures Of Superman" and combines it with matching scenes from "Superman: The Movie" and Superman II."

There are no added sound effects; everything you hear is from the original TV show intro, but I tried to make every sound match up with something from the movie scenes. I managed to make a couple of scenes match with lip movements during the helicopter rescue scene; watch closely and you will see two different men in the crowd seem to say "Up in the sky!" and "It's a plane!"

I had fun doing this, but the resolution is low. I need to redo it at a higher resolution so it will look better. I will post it when I do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Starlog "The Questor Tapes" Article

From the pages of issue #30 of Starlog magazine (published January 1980) comes this in-depth article on the TV movie "The Questor Tapes," which was Gene Roddenberry's pilot for a proposed series that was never produced. I caught the premiere of the movie, and enjoyed it, even taping it on cassette tapes and listening back to it later. I also have the novelization of the script; I'll have to scan the cover and post it soon.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

In later years, Gene would recycle the character for his new Trek series 'The Next Generation," and giving Data many of the same characteristics, even down to the "I am fully functional" line as well as its meaning, which was sexual function (or at least the mechanics of it.) It would have been interesting to see what the series would have been like had Gene been able to retain control of it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Masters of the Universe" Promo Booklet

(This is a re-post from my now-archived blog "Sweet Skulls," but I thought my readers here would enjoy seeing this if they missed it there. )

(Click on images to view full-size.)

Say what you will about the film, that is one great piece of poster art.

The pages scanned in here are from a glossy newspaper-format promo magazine for upcoming Cannon films, which was sent to video stores at the time. This is to promote the VHS release of the movie.

I resisted watching this movie for nearly a year after it came out on video, as I considered it far beneath me. A movie based on a silly kid's toy line? No way would I watch this dreck!

But, I finally gave in and rented it; and surprise, surprise, surprise: I enjoyed it! People complain of it's cheesiness, but I like cheese in moderation, and this is like creamy Velveeta on a crisp, fresh Saltine cracker. As silly as it is, and it is very silly, there are some things to like about it. An awesome score by Bill Conti brings a weight and emotional impact not expected; Frank Langella as Skeletor brings to the role his voice and regal but wry bearing. Other things that stand out; Meg Foster's spooky eyes as Evil-Lyn, Teela's thong-enhanced tights, James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland from "Back To The Future") doing his usual character as Detective Lubic; epic sets and effects, bringing to life the Moebius art design. Somehow the movie succeeds in rising about it's toy-based roots and does it with a grin that says "we know it's dumb, but let's have some fun with it!"

The departures from the animated series concepts only served to make it a better movie, moving it more into a science fiction realm than that of sorcery. And bringing the action to Earth, involving a teen couple as our link to reality, makes the drama more close to home and relatable.

So, I've watched far, far dumber movies than this with lesser music, actors, effects and story. Why shouldn't I put this on occasionally and enjoy it for what it is? Cheese-Whiz squirted right out of the can onto the tongue.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Superman 2 FX Behind The Scenes

Miniature special effects master Derek Meddings works on the set of Superman 2, preparing the miniature Metropolis city street for the scene of the battle with the Kryptonians.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Below, the farmhouse in Texas that is destroyed by the helicopter crash caused by the three criminals, as it appeared in camera....

And below, Derek working on it, which reveals the scale of the realistic miniature. His best work was done when you didn't realise the shot involved a miniature.

Friday, February 11, 2011

1977 Forbidden Planet article

One can never have too much of material devoted to the movie "Forbidden Planet," at least by my calculation. As the immediate ancestor of "Star Trek," which I love, this film which pre-dated it by almost a decade set the standard for thoughtful and forward-thinking sci-fi set on a futuristic spaceship. Today's post is a scan of several articles from the high-quality magazine Science Fantasy Film Classics. This was from the first issue of this short-lived publication, which came out in the winter of 1977. (See the cover here.)
(Click on images to enlarge.)

I only in recent years found out that Robbie's bottom half and legs in the above scene are merely painted on a flat piece of wood or cardboard. It was positioned so that, when seen from the camera's angle, it gave the illusion of being the actual lower body and legs. The suit was not built to allow him to sit down, so this was a fast and money-saving solution that worked for the quick single shot.

I consider "Star Trek" and "Lost In Space" to both be sons of "Forbidden Planet." "Trek" inherited the character and intelligence, while "Lost" only strongly resembled in appearance. That said, I feasted on "Lost" as a kid, and it fueled my interest in monsters and sci-fi for years.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Planet of the Apes Timeline Article

"And my timeline paper beats his, thanks to my superior firepower!"

The chronological timeline of the Apes movies and TV show is quite convoluted, with seeming contradictions scattered throughout. Indeed, many have tried to reconcile the various dates given throughout the series, and their efforts can be found on various sites, such as this one, this one, this one, and this one, among many others (One site that seems to offer an authoritative outline is HassleinBooks.com. I have not bought the book to examine it, but it looks to be the definitive effort so far) . This article from issue #11 of Marvel's 1975 POTA magazine seems to be the first published attempt to track the various dates and events given, in order to try to make sense of it (although it muddies the water somewhat by interjecting the Marvel comics storylines into it). I subscribe to the theory that once Zira and Cornelius come back in time to 1973, they created another timeline that differs from the original, where they did not go back. Their presence (and DNA) cause the ape mutation and uprising to occur much earlier than their history recorded, and I hold that the subsequent film and TV series events are a direct result of this new timeline. In that film the scientific advisor Hasslein thought that the future could be changed, and I think it was, just not in the direction he wanted. (Update: as you can see from the discussion with a knowledgable fan in the comments, there are different views on this.)

The author further submits the possibility, and I tend to agree, that the Zira and Cornelius of the third film may not even be from the same timeline as the first and second film; since it seems so unlikely that they could have located the sunken spaceship, retreived it, repaired it and launched it into space, even with Milo's help. Their technology just wasn't that advanced. The many attempts to catalog the timeline testify to the inconsistencies found in the movies; the carelessness of the writers force us fans into some strange contortions to justify the timeline of the films, indeed! Continuity was not a strong point of the franchise's producers. One thing is certain; we fans have given it much, much more thought than they ever did when creating it. Maybe we should set our brains in "nuetral" and just pop some popcorn and enjoy the films for the light entertainment they were intended to be...

Speaking of timelines, here is one that tracks various events in the real world relative to the production of the Apes franchise and various items associated with it. It's exhaustive, and informative, but ultimately depressing to me, to see how many people that contributed in some way to the Apes story have passed away.

Friday, January 21, 2011

1982 "Superman III" Filming Article

From the "Star" tabloid, published September 28, 1982, comes this sneak peek at the filming of "Superman III." The article's revelation of the comedic nature of film did not bode well; I also had suspicions from the nature of the shot, which seemed more like a scene for a TV show than a movie, that the film was not going to be very good. Unfortunately, that suspicion was borne out. Regardless, this near-two page spread is a nice behind-the-scenes look at Christopher Reeve's work, which is always welcome. The writer got the scene wrong, though; the guy in the car was in danger, and not a bad guy. I suppose the writer overlooked the water pouring from the car's interior, or he thought it was a water-breathing bad guy. :)

(Click on image to enlarge.)

This large article took 6 scans in sections, that I pieced back together in Photoshop; all done for you, my readers! If you enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labors, comment and let me know.