Gerry Anderson’s ‘Firestorm’ On Kickstarter!

Gerry Anderson, the prolific British producer of shows like Space Precinct, UFO, Space: 1999, Terrahawks and Thunderbirds, died in 2012 but despite that fact he’s in a sense back with a new series, Firestorm, with the initial episodes being funded via Kickstarter.

As I said, Anderson embarked upon the greatest adventure two years ago, though before Alzheimer’s led to his eventual decline he sold his Firestorm concept (which he developed with John Needham, who also worked with him on Space Precinct and The New Adventures of Captain Scarlet) to a Japanese company, which created a CGI-enhanced cartoon based on the property.

Now Gerry Anderson’s son, Jamie, is running Anderson Entertainment and it appears that he’s acquired the rights to Firestorm, and he’s going back to the future, by which I mean he’s going to make the new series with puppets, models, practical special effects and cool ships (a hallmark of Anderson’s features).

So if you can send a little love his way–by which I mean a donation to the production via Kickstarter–do so because I get the feeling that this is going to be awesome.

‘Iron Man 4′ Is A Go!

Iron Man Flying

According to Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man 4 is happening and truth be told I am a little torn by the decision.  It’s a good thing because Downey, for millions of people (including this writer) embodies Tony Stark.

It’s not such a good thing because Marvel has to know that they’re just delaying the inevitable.  Originally when this question was posed to Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios,  he said something to the effect that the plan was to have the Iron Man franchise to be similar to James Bond, in that the actor who plays Bond is important, but less so than the franchise itself.

In other words, the actor who plays Iron Man would change from time to time.

The thing is that Marvel Studios is known for their thriftiness (or miserliness, depending upon how you look at such things) and it goes without saying that they must be paying Downey a butt-load of money, to put on the red and gold suit again (though in Marvel and Feige’s defense, Iron Man 3 made over $1.2 billion on a $200 million budget, so $50 million–what he earned for Iron Man 3–was just a drop in the bucket).

Prelude To Axanar

I don’t traditionally like to link to full movies but Prelude To Axanar is something special, and this is coming from someone who isn’t a huge fan of the Star Trek universe (as far as the televised series’ are concerned,  I prefer Star Trek: Deep Space Nine most because Capt. Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) wasn’t above engaging in realpolitik when the high-mindedness of The Federation didn’t do the job, which enabled him to essentially trick the Romulans into the Dominion War on The Federation’s side).

Prelude To Axanar started life as a Kickstarter and has already reached its funding goals, though they are still accepting contributions.  One purpose of the project is, I assume, as a  showcase for what the producers can do, and I have to admit that it’s impressive.

What I like is that is that it appears to be less about the personalities that actually fought in the conflict, than the conflict itself.  I like character development as much as the next person, but the producers decided–rightly in my view–it’s that such an important conflict in the Star Tek Universe that it would take precedence.

Besides, it stars Tony Todd,  Gary Graham and and Kate Vernon, who despite having seen recently playing Colonel Tigh’s wife on the Battlestar Galactica reboot, I didn’t recognize.

‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ Is On Netflix

I know that I have written on the reboot of the The Town That Dreaded Sundown before, but since the original has just turned up on Netflix, I though I’d throw something together.   If you’re into horror movies, it’s worth checking out because it’s a pretty good movie, though another reason is that if you intend to catch the upcoming reboot, it would be good to see the original first, for comparison’s sake.

What’s always creeped me out about it is that you see the killer quite a bit–though never his face.  It’s an acknowledgement that he moved around with a degree of impunity that only a person who was local, and by extension known to the community, could.

And as far as I am aware he was never caught, though for whatever reason the killings stopped.

The movie also has a narrator, which reminds me of the approach taken during certain parts of Tobe Hooper’s  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It’s not a particularly gory movie, though the filmmakers do a good job of crafting the atmosphere of a small American town held tightly in the grip of fear.

Another thing that I enjoy about the movie is while a lot that you see on the screen is based on speculation, there’s no attempt to glorify or make him any scarier than he already is.

 

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.