The Future Is Fantastic! – Modular Eagle Project, Part 2 

Since joining Lego Ideas five years ago, the user known as King_Arthur has created other projects, but none has attracted as much attention as his most recent, which is a Lego-ized version of the Eagle Transporter from Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999

Here is his version below, and I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty faithful reproduction. 

I have written this project the past, and I am glad to note that it has reached the 1000 follower benchmark–currently sitting at a very apt 1998- and has earned another 6 months  (or 182 days) to reach the next milestone, which is 5000 followers. 

Of that 182 days 135 remain, so if you were considering showing your support for this awesome project this is the perfect time to do so.  


When it reaches 5000 supporters Lego will produce a kit based on King_Arthur’s design, which will be available in stores. 

And in case–for some strange reason–you’re still on the fence, check out his Flickr page for even more pictures of his fantastic Modular Eagle project.

Donald Trump: Ally Of Zelda!?

If you have ever seen Gerry Anderson’s Terrahawks you’re familiar with Zelda of Gak, an android who’s numerous attempts to invade Earth were thwarted by Dr. Tiger Ninestein and his team, known as the Terrahawks.

Speaking of Zelda, she recently released a video from her base on Mars denying any involvement with or connection to the Trump campaign.  And while such meddling in human affairs isn’t beyond her, she also tends to be be pretty open about her attempts to undermine humanity, so I’m guessing that she might be innocent (this time).

Besides, while Zelda may hate humanity with every fibre of her being, she’s never been known for her racism, lying on the verge of being a pathological condition, or overall smarminess.

 

Support the LEGO Eagle Transporter

Support LEGO potentially creating a LEGO-ized version of the Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999, one of the most awesome and iconic spaceships in television history.

space-1999-year-one-1No matter if your preference is for the more cerebral Year One…

 

 

 

space-1999-year-two

Or more dynamic Year Two, you can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

Though most fans of Gerry Anderson’s (arguably) best life action series would want most is a Year Three, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon because ITV (the current rights holder) are apparently doing everything they can to ensure that it doesn’t.

(To be fair in 2012 there was talk of a reboot, Space: 2099, but that fell by the wayside).

As I implied, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a new series, so one way to0 show your love is to create create an account at LEGO Ideas and answer a few questions (all relevant to the potential project).

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Besides, if LEGO does an Eagle, can a Hawk be far behind?

And if there’s enough interest to create a LEGO-ized Hawk, who knows what can happen?

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The (Un)necessary Remake Dept – Wing Commander (1999)

Gerry Anderson, it could be argued, was one of the first producers of science fiction to see what a tremendous role hardware design, such as spaceships, could play.  In virtually all his television series and movies, design has been crucial (more often than not, to the detriment of character development).  In fact, the Eagle from Space: 1999, arguably a space craft as iconic as Star Trek’s Enterprise, lead directly to designs like the Millennium Falcon, from Star Wars (George Lucas was known to have been directly inspired, in a visual sense, by Space: 1999).

In fact, Brian Johnson, who handled special effects on movies like The Empire Strikes Back (among many others) cut his teeth on Anderson productions.

I bring up spaceship design because Chris Roberts‘ 1999 movie Wing Commander is a movie that, on the whole, had designs that appeared more functional than iconic, a fact that wouldn’t endear the movie to tech-heads.  In fact, the design of the spaceships are remarkably similar to those of Paul W.S. Anderson’s Event Horizon, that came two years earlier (I assume that the same FX houses worked on both features).

Despite being, in terms of spaceship design being somewhat uninspired, it had actors like David Sushet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot), Tchéky Kayro, Jurgen Prochnow, David Warner, Freddie Prince, Jr. and Matthew Lillard, which is why its box office failure is so perplexing to me.

In fact, despite the aforementioned failure, the movie is unintentionally prophetic in that it plays like a young adult novel (by no means an insult.  Some of the best books I have ever read, such as John Christopher’s The White Mountains trilogy, were young adult novels) instead of being based on a video game.

That being the case, for a reboot I would commission more iconic spaceship designs, but that’s about it.  The movie does so much right that I can only think that its problem during its original release was one of timing.

Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Puppet Movement Tests

I am genuinely psyched for movies like Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice but what I am even more interested in is something that we won’t be seeing on the big screen, and that’s Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm.

Originally sold by creators Anderson and John Needham to a Japanese company, it was developed into anime.  The rights have reverted back to Anderson’s estate, and his son, Jamie, is developing it into a series.

To anyone familiar to Anderson’s productions, a strong suit tends to be the technology on display, and Firestorm won’t be any different( if the cartoon inspired by Anderson and Needham’s work is any indication).  That being said, I am more interested for what has been absent from Anderson’s productions for a long while, and that’s actual puppets.

Below is a motion test, where they’re putting one through its paces, and it looks glorious.  There’s something about an actual object–as opposed to an accumulation of pixels–that’s so cool.  And sure, there’re lots of things that you can do with CGI that you can’t with puppets (though they benefit from improvements in technology like anything else), but I am okay with that because hopefully it will never turn to an either or type of situation.

Puppetry reminds me of a something hand-crafted, that refuses to go easily into the mists of time.  As a result, it manages to be retro and and modern all at the same time, and I can’t wait to see it.

Thunderbirds Are Go! – Trailer

The official trailer for ITV’s The Thunderbirds Are Go! has dropped, and I like the way that they tried to integrate practical sets with CGI people and vehicles. (I also liked what appears to be a shoutout to Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999, shown below).

Thunderbirds Are Go! craft

Unfortunately, despite efforts to make the CGI characters look like puppets they still look like computer graphics, which has never been that great in portraying people (unless dead eyes and oddly spastic movements are your thing).

If the above trailer doesn’t prove my point, then take a look at 2010’s–was it really that long ago!?–Tron: Legacy.  The CGI representation of Flynn (Jeff Bridges) attracted a huge amount of attention, but despite being state of the art at the time, it wasn’t actually that good a representation because–as far as humans go–our faces are composed of all sorts of muscles that interact with each other.

Let’s say you smile, your cheekbones move, which in turn shifts the position of your eyes, which slightly changes your forehead, perhaps wrinkling it.

Generally speaking, when humans, as well as animals, though it may not be quite as evident because their bodies may be covered with fur–move one aspect of our bodies, be it our faces or whatever–there’s an entire cascade of smaller movements that accompany it.  Which was why the computer animated Flynn was so odd looking: his mouth would move, then literally nothing else on his face would, which looks like he’s received a botox injection in his forehead and cheeks.

Flynn, Tron Legacy

So I guess what I am saying that I would have preferred it if they went with puppets, with CGI used when characters have to run or walk (because puppets have never done those two tasks particularly realistically) as well as spaceships and things like that.

Thunderbirds Are Go! Goes Practical (Sort Of)

Gerry Anderson as a producer has always fascinated me.  Despite being behind some of the most innovative puppet (Supermarionation)-based television series, he was never entirely satisfied with working with them, and always wanted to work with flesh and blood actors.

That being said, he first time that he did so, in UFO, Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun (Doppelgänger), Space: 1999 and Space Precinct the characters tended to exhibit a range of expressions and emotions not too far distant from the puppets he wanted to move away from.

Though what I found telling was that in his The New Adventures Of Captain Scarlet, which created in Hypermarionation (CGI and image capture), the vehicles looked fantastic, characters moved with a fluidity absent from any of the Anderson puppet-based series.

Yet the obvious care that went into vehicle design and movement was absent from the characters faces, which looked as stony, as puppet-like, as ever.

I mention these things because ITV recently released a video of some of the props that WETA is using for their upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! and what’s most interesting is that despite the characters–as far as I am aware–being entirely CGI they’re still creating physical props to work with.

It’s an interesting approach, which I wish that Anderson would have perhaps considered with his Captain Scarlet series.