Submarine Love

Every since the television series based on Irwin Allen‘s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea I’ve had a love affair with submarines in movies, though the more realistic they appear, the less I am interested.

For instance, the cramped and claustrophobic submarines–which is more in line with actual submersibles–from movies like The Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide, I don’t care too much for,  but give me something like the SeaQuest from SeaQuest DSV (despite being being CGI as opposed to practical) and I’m all over it.

Which is why I am posting this clip from StudioADI of a submarine they built as a test model for James Cameron for a very real dive he did to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, knowledge that I feel comfortable in saying would in some way contributed (and who knows, may have helped to inspire) to their upcoming Harbinger Down.

And in case you’ve forgotten about Harbinger Down, which sounds like an awesome mix of a nautical thriller, H.P. Lovecraft, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, here’s the official trailer.

Practically Speaking

If you’re a big fan of movies, particularly horror and sci-fi, you’ve probably taken a position on whether or not movies should use CGI (computer-generated imagery) or practical effects (which include prosthetics, animatronics, models and miniatures).

Personally, I am a HUGE fans of practical effects.  That being said, I understand that there are things that you can’t do as well practically as you can do with CGI–for instance if you’ve seen Alex Proyas’ The Crow, there are numerous scenes where cars are moving through city streets that’s clearly part of a miniature cityscape which probably would have worked better with actual cars, unless Proyas deliberately wanted it to look like models–and when it’s done well,  CGI can add a dynamism to scenes that isn’t always possible practically.

On the other side, when you’re dealing with practical effects the actors and actresses are performing against an actual thing, as opposed to (in some instances) a tennis ball.

This means that you’re not only likelier to get a better performance out of them, the scene that they appear in looks more real.

One of my favorite filmmakers, producer Gerry Anderson, was a huge advocate of miniature effects (which probably has a lot to do with him coming from a background of making shows that revolved around puppetry, like Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons, The Thunderbirds, and The Terrahawks) which he incorporated into live action in movies like Doppleganger (also known as Journey to the Far Side of the Sun) and television shows like Space: 1999, UFO and Space Precinct.

In the video clip below Tom Woodruff, Jr and Alec Gillis, of StudioADI, discuss why it is that studios sometimes choose CGI effects over practical ones.  And as usual, nothing is as simple as movie fans would like it to be.

Betrayal! Thy Name Is Krieger!

Considering how ISIS (the International Secret Intelligence Service)–not the terrorist organization currently in vogue–seemingly did everything they could undermine their own efforts, they hardly needed help from outside.

Or inside, for that matter.

That being said, I feel reasonably certain that there there was someone within ISIS doing just that.  Perhaps they were too caught up in their struggle with ODIN (the Organization of Democratic Intelligence Networks) and various flavors of international terrorists/arms dealers to notice what was going on right under their noses.

And the name of their Manchurian Candidate?  Doctor KriegerDr. Krieger!  A man so stupid–or was his ignorance a deliberate ruse to lull his fellow agents into a sense of false complacency?–that he regularly operated on people, yet couldn’t name any of the bones of the human body!

And while ISIS imploded at the end of the fourth season, but Krieger’s antics sped it along the way.

As proof I offer Conway Stern (Coby Bell), who worked for ISIS before it was discovered that he was attempting to steal the plans for a device known as a ‘whisper drive,’ which could render submarines undetectable.  Due to the Truckasaurs-like strength of Agent Lana Kane (Aisha Taylor), Conway lost his hand as well as the drive, though he was still able to escape.

Conway.gif

Yikes!

If you’ve followed Archer you’re probably aware that Krieger (Lucky Yates) was probably a clone of Hitler, which if you’ve seen The Boys From Brazil you’d know that Hitler clones are usually up to no good.

Conway 2

The most blatant example of Krieger’s perfidy?  There are quite a few, but the one that sticks in my craw is from the third episode of the first season, Diversity Hire, when ISIS hired Conway Stern, an African-American Jew (“A diversity double-whammy!“) mainly because Archer (accidentally) outed all the other agents of color, resulting in their deaths.

Conway 3Could Dr. Krieger have betrayed ISIS because of some deep-seated hatred of everything they stood for (I honestly have no idea what that is) or is the truth more mundane, and Krieger was just an monumental asshole?

I think the latter.

Why studioADI Is Awesome

Bob Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis of studioADI, the practical special effects house behind a lot of your favorite movies, including the Predator and Alien films, as well as the upcoming Kickstarter-funded practical horror film, Harbinger Down) are two men that clearly enjoy their work.

You can see the devotion and craftsmanship that their effects shop brings to every creature they make, even when their creations don’t appear in great movies, such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the effects they designed for fan-favorite anti-hero, Deadpool.

This disdain occasionally spills over to the creator of the effects.

In the above clip Gillis and Woodruff are explaining why Deadpool looked as he did.

And Gillis makes a great point, which is that special effects houses, aren’t necessarily in control over how a character looks, when all is said and done.

The thing is, I knew that already and while I also hated how Deadpool ended up, the effects-works itself (which is the only thing that studioADI is actually in control of), was spot-on.

‘Underworld’ Rebooted!

The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Underworld is being rebooted.  It’s been eight years since first entry in the trilogy (and two since the last film, Underworld Awakening).

And while I don’t necessarily think that eight years is a long time between reboots, at least it’s more than between the transition from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 to Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man.  

The thing is, a reboot of Underworld is not a bad thing, especially since the original films were little more than (visually speaking) Matrix knockoffs with vaguely supernatural overtones.  

This time around I hope that filmmakers spend less time finding out ways to better arm werewolves and vampires than to have them rely on their ‘natural’ abilities and leave the weaponry to humans, who need the assist.  

I also hope that the new movies are more on the horror side, as opposed to (somewhat generic) action films.

It’s not like there’s anything wrong with action films, though we could always use more horror films featuring werewolves and vampires.

 

Why Marvel Needs To Take Its Time Jumping On The Female Superhero Movie Bandwagon

I have written on women superheroes in movies in the past, and thought that it was a topic worth revisiting, especially since some have decided that Marvel Studios somehow has a duty to make a feature with a female lead.

Which is nonsense, but don’t get me wrong, inclusiveness is a great thing. All of us need to be able to see ourselves in the various superhero universes out there because they serve to not only inspire us, but as a reminder that reminder that we’re part of something greater than ourselves.

But there’s one problem with that thesis: Hollywood is driven not by altruism, but by money. If superhero films featuring women were successful, I guarantee you that every studio would be making them.

And it’s not rocket science as to why such films aren’t more common, which is because they have, so far, been failures at the box office.

For a prime example why Marvel should take their time, let’s look to 2004, when Warner Bros released Catwoman.  It was a failure, earning $80 million on a $100 million budget. And truth be told that was $80 million more than the movie deserved (Though Halle Berry was so classy that she actually attended the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards–also known as “The Razzies“–where Catwoman “won” in the Worse Picture category).

And the thing is, I don’t blame Pitof, who directed, or Berry’s performance in the title role (though the ‘tuna’ scene was a bit obvious and silly).

Heck, I don’t even blame Theresa RebeckMichael Ferris or John Brancato, who wrote it.

I blame whichever executives at Warner Bros who green-lit the project because alarm bells should have immediately gone off when it was learned that the main character, Patience Phillips (Berry) was ‘Catwoman’ in name only.  Her origins had very little to do with the comics that inspired her creation.  Now, I understand that executives may have wanted to go in a different direction after Catwoman made an appearance in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns–who portrayed the character as a bit too damaged–but to go so totally in the opposite direction tonally was a bit of an over-correction.

As if the Titanic, in a effort to miss a a small sheet of ice, ran smack-dab into the iceberg.

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In The Penumbra Of The Black Plague

I am not a huge video game player, and in fact I tend to enjoy watching other people playing more than doing so myself.  I buy games every once in awhile, particularly if I like the concept behind them, play for a few minutes, then lose interest.

Most of it has to do with my attention span, which for games can be particularly brief. I have always been more interested in the hype that surrounds a game than the game itself; so that when I finally own a game that I have been lusting for for months, if not years, it almost automatically loses what got me interested in the first place.

When Steam was relatively new I purchased six or seven games, two of them being Penumbra: Black Plague and Requiem.

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