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. )

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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.