In hindsight, the Wing Commander movie was a masterpiece.

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
As for Transformers, as far as I'm concerned it's DOA. What a stupid premise.... Ok fine for a Saturday kids cartoon in the 80's but Cinema?!?!


Actually it's completely fine for cinema.

The premise is great for an end of the world/disaster movie like War of the Worlds. I would make the robots never say their names though, a name like "Bumblebee" is not exactly awe inspiring. Focus more on the "machines of destruction" that the evil Transformers are and on the resulting mayhem; drop the teenage stuff, the sex comedy, the fart jokes, the "cute" and funny characters and of course the ADD puke inducing cinematography and it would work.
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
That said, the pilgrims really aren't like the force at all. It's not space magic.

I get that but the way the movie handled it made it space magic for all intents and purposes and the "science" they spoke about was often ridiculous such as the theory that the pilgrims evolved because of radiation from their ship's engines.

Like you said Paladin is very Obi-wan, that vibe even makes it into the final film, and the whole thing really pushes to give it a mystical Star-Warsy feel that just bugs me.

I feel like I'm beating a very dead and rotting horse but it's interesting to see how people feel about the film so many years later, long after the initial wounds have healed.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Those explosions were close. I would guess they would hear it when the shockwaves etc from the explosions connected with the ship's hull.

Minor nitpick, but there are no shockwaves in space. A shockwave is a moving step change in density and pressure that propagates through a medium like the atmosphere. There is simply no medium (or at least, not a sufficiently dense medium) in space to transmit a shockwave.

The only way a crew in a ship would "hear" a nearby explosion in space is if debris from the explosion actually happened to impact the hull.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
@Wcnut, the only fighter in active service during WW2 capable of pulling comparable moves to the one you see in the re-imagined BSG is the Me-262 "Schwalbe"(The reversal move, flying on inertia and blowing up the rocket), and even then you would have to be the ultimate ace, or a grandfather of Maniac :D

@farbourne.. "shields" are a forcefield, and have at least a pressure, the fact that you can't breath the atmosphere does not discount the fact that audiosignals can't be heard...
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
very close quarters dogfighting combat, relatively slow for space ships, aiming with the tracers of machine guns. These are all holdouts of WWII combat. Lets face it space is really big, combat doesn't need to be close, but it's much more interesting to watch then an f-14 firing it's phoenix missile taking out a target some 100 miles away.
 

Wojo

Rear Admiral
I imagine real space combat would all occur beyond visible range. Imagine around a planet - you would have to calculate the gravitational forces of the planet for each shot. This does mean that you could in theory open fire and hit something beyond the horizon of said planet... I hear modern naval battles happen this way at times. Again I think REAL space combat has been discussed in another thread somewhere around here...

How would you create an explosion in space? Your warhead would need both the combustible (i.e. TNT) and the oxygen for it to burn, yes? I imagine that would dissapate fairly quickly in a vacuum. Perhaps in a spherical or ring-like pattern... You see what I'm getting at... Trying desperately to justify big shockwavey explosirifics in space!

So... if (and this is a big, hypothetical if) you were able to change the Kilrathi in the movie, what would you want them to look like? WC1, 2, 3, or 4 era? (I mention WC1 & 2 separately simply because of the WC1 manual art of the Kilrathi Aces). I also skip Prophecy as we didn't really get a good close-up (in the VDU they looked more like wc3 era to me).
 

Bob McDob

Better Health Through Less Flavor
Now, I don't hate the pilgrim stuff, but I feel the name Pilgim is stupid in itself and kind of evokes negative connotations. It seems like some wierd John Wayne joke.

And if there's one thing Wing Commander certainly isn't about, it's weird John Wayne jokes!
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
How would you create an explosion in space? Your warhead would need both the combustible (i.e. TNT) and the oxygen for it to burn, yes? I imagine that would dissapate fairly quickly in a vacuum. Perhaps in a spherical or ring-like pattern... You see what I'm getting at... Trying desperately to justify big shockwavey explosirifics in space!

The depth charge scene in the film has Gerald saying "They're nuking every crater... Methodical bastards." So they're using nukes. Also the script describes the explosions on the moon surface as a mushroom cloud.

So... if (and this is a big, hypothetical if) you were able to change the Kilrathi in the movie, what would you want them to look like? WC1, 2, 3, or 4 era? (I mention WC1 & 2 separately simply because of the WC1 manual art of the Kilrathi Aces). I also skip Prophecy as we didn't really get a good close-up (in the VDU they looked more like wc3 era to me).


While I'm kind of partial to the WC2 cats, I don't see them translating well... maybe som kind of cross between that and what we got. I actually don't mind the concepts they had for the movie kilrathi. I would have been interested to see how people would have reacted to them had they made them less broad. and had they move more naturaly both in being more agile but also in their facial movements... I presume that they could relatively cheaply change this in the future with some fancy CG work.
 

Wojo

Rear Admiral
Excellent. This is exactly what I was gunning for, AD. (kilrathi) - I mentioned the sketch from the Confederation Handbook that looks more Samurai-ish... Would have been brilliant to see this more realised in the film.

Looks like I'm about to embark on some artwork.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Excellent. This is exactly what I was gunning for, AD. (kilrathi) - I mentioned the sketch from the Confederation Handbook that looks more Samurai-ish... Would have been brilliant to see this more realised in the film.

Looks like I'm about to embark on some artwork.

Cool. I like artwork...

I've also been entering references and stuff slowly into the WCpedia project. Here's the WIP page for the movie: https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/Category:Wing_Commander_Movie

There's a page of movie concept art HERE that includes some of the kilrathi concepts including a couple of unused ones by Patrick Tatopolous (the Stargate/ID4/Outlander monster guy).

Also this HERE is a WIP page for the shooting script where I've been marking which scenes are moved/deleted. I should get most of it finshed later tonight.

There's also a page of the collected magazine articles on making the movie that are of interest.

Good reads are the cinefex article on making the movie. THe 3D design article is good too and goes into good detail on the CG elements in the film. But you might want to read This one which is about the Animatronics in particular.
 
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Flashpoint

Rear Admiral
I imagine real space combat would all occur beyond visible range. Imagine around a planet - you would have to calculate the gravitational forces of the planet for each shot. This does mean that you could in theory open fire and hit something beyond the horizon of said planet... I hear modern naval battles happen this way at times. Again I think REAL space combat has been discussed in another thread somewhere around here..

I read a book by Alan Dean Foster once, in which the massive war that had been raging through the galaxy, only took place on planets.
There was no space war at all because technology had reached such a point that the cap ships would wipe eachother out in a matter of seconds, without even seeing eachother. Cap ships were used to jump into orbit for the fraction of a second it took to deploy troop transports, the jump out again.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Excellent. This is exactly what I was gunning for, AD. (kilrathi) - I mentioned the sketch from the Confederation Handbook that looks more Samurai-ish... Would have been brilliant to see this more realised in the film.

I never liked the Samurai concept. One of the big problems with the movie for me is that it grabs too many different things at once. It does them all well, but they don't really come together: the Tiger's Claw is a submarine *and* a carrier, the dogfights are modern jets *and* prop planes... we're rushing to Earth as quickly as possible *and* we have a scene talking about Forever War-style time dilation? Samurai (pizza?) cats would just make that even more evident.

I would have liked to see the movie almost without any Kilrathi, from the start. Maybe have them as fuzzy green VDU images (the movie needed taunts!) and then treat actually seeing them as a big reveal at the end when you get to the boarding scene--but don't drop back to the captain and the admiral plotting every once in a while as planned.

(I wonder if someone didn't have this in mind at some point, with the "UGLY" scene where Blair wants to know what the Kilrathi look like. Which of course doesn't make sense in a war where they've been fighting the Kilrathi for twenty years anyway...)

I get that but the way the movie handled it made it space magic for all intents and purposes and the "science" they spoke about was often ridiculous such as the theory that the pilgrims evolved because of radiation from their ship's engines.

I don't think the movie says anything about the origin of the Pilgrim genetics... and I don't think that one comes from anywhere else in the canon. (The explanation in the Handbook, which may be what you're thinking of, is that the Pilgrim gene was selected for during the colonization of the solar system--pregnancy was difficult in zero g and fetuses with the ability were the ones who survived to term.)


Like you said Paladin is very Obi-wan, that vibe even makes it into the final film, and the whole thing really pushes to give it a mystical Star-Warsy feel that just bugs me.

Isn't the movie's big punch, though, that it specifically isn't this? Blair has believed he's a Jedi the whole time and he's *not*. "It's not faith, it's genetics."
 

Malcolm Reynolds

Rear Admiral
I might as well add my two cents in about the movie. The real problem with it as I see it, is that they tried to portray the main characters, namely Maniac and Blair as sexy 90's era college kids. It just doesn't work in science fiction. If you look at say, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and you look at how they handled Starbuck, you'll see a much better portrayal of a rogueish pilot than Maniac. (I'm saying this, and I kinda hate Starbuck) Even though she's a woman, she's sooo much closer to Maniac the Lillard's performance ever was. Freddie is just bland, and seems to have been cast mainly for his looks. I can't really complain about Angle, though she wasn't french. Paladin was french, I think, which is just an odd choice. I like the guy who play's paladin in the movie, but he's not playing the paladin I'd always imagined. Almost every character---the movie got wrong. They aren't even hard characters to portray. They are stock video game characters. Why did Hunter (or that pilot who has an Australian accent) have to be a dick to Blair? I mean, I know why, Blair came off as a phony rich guy with no personality, but also wasn't Hunter always kind of a lovable drinker? The worst character, by far, has to be Rosie. Oh my God, she was annoying, I could rant for ever about why she annoys me but I won't. I was just so happy when the furballs wasted her. (or did she kill herself with her own stupidity? I can't remember)

Why are all of these trained, professional fighter pilots a bunch of douchey 20-somethings? These are not the kind of people who would ever make it through flight school. There are people of that age group that are actually seem like they could handle the responsibility of taking a vehicle into combat that is probably worth millions and protecting the lives of billions of people. Hell even in Star Trek 2009 I found those actors more believable as young military professionals.

I also didn't like the way their fighters looked. Apparently the built them out of scrapped air planes from the 60's or something? Ugh, just not my style.

However, the battle scenes are pretty good, and there's not really any visual effects that look fake to me. They had a pretty good visual effects team it seems.

The real problem with the film, other than the obvious plot issues, is that the characters weren't very likable, and so I didn't care about them or what they were protecting. Which, by the way, we never saw.

When I finally saw the new Battlestar, years after I had seen Wing Commander, I was just saying to myself, "Yes, yes this just like Wing Commander, why couldn't have Wing Commander been like this?" I'm not talking about all of Battlestar, I'm just talking about the space combat elements and the handling of life on board a giant battleship in space. Obviously, BSG has many other elements that are not very Wing Commander.

And yes, I agree, transformers is the worst thing ever.
 

Captain Obvious

Rear Admiral
Isn't the movie's big punch, though, that it specifically isn't this? Blair has believed he's a Jedi the whole time and he's *not*. "It's not faith, it's genetics."

Maybe but even though the movie says "It's science!" it's still basically space-magic being called science. It wasn't so much a big punch for me as it was a hand-wave. I'm really never going to like the Pilgrim plot element. At its heart no matter what you call it, it's still just a science-fictiony version of "You are the chosen one."

It's not that I think it's necessarily a bad trope or anything it's that it's just in my opinion Wing Commander handled it poorly and generically and it hurt the film more than it helped.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
I never liked the Samurai concept.

I didn't see this as a grab at Samurai so much as as a grab at Star Trek's Klingon culture, which is in its self based on Samurai stuff. Maybe it was because they were in space but the rigged metal costumes, the big browbones seemed to be more Klingon than asian.

I would have liked to see the movie almost without any Kilrathi, from the start. Maybe have them as fuzzy green VDU images (the movie needed taunts!) and then treat actually seeing them as a big reveal at the end when you get to the boarding scene--but don't drop back to the captain and the admiral plotting every once in a while as planned.

I still maintain the best way to do the Kilrathi in a WC movie (or mostly any WC material) would be the same way they did Germans in Stanley Kubrick's Paths Of Glory. You never see them, you never hear them (though taunts would be great!) and the most interaction you get with them is a muzzle flash from far off.

If you look at say, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and you look at how they handled Starbuck, you'll see a much better portrayal of a rogueish pilot than Maniac. (I'm saying this, and I kinda hate Starbuck)

I've never understood the loyal following that the BSG revamp has gotten (similarly, I've never understood why some people decide to drink drano) but putting even that aside - the idea that "Item A is better than Item B because its closer to the original idea of Item C" is a badly flawed concept. Maniac isn't exactly the most in-depth character, he's a simple foil to Blair and thats really it. The idea that another franchise got it more right by switching the gender and making them an oversexed, cigar-smoking jerk doesn't fly since thats just as generic as Maniac ever was. Lillard got hired because of typecasting because - surprise! - hes the foil to Freddy Prinze Jr in two other films previous to WCM.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
"shields" are a forcefield, and have at least a pressure, the fact that you can't breath the atmosphere does not discount the fact that audiosignals can't be heard...

We don't know how "shields" work, but they almost certainly are *not* using atmospheric effects to create some kind of pressure field, or else they wouldn't work in space (where there is not atmospheres)...at least, not unless they work by the ship continuously spraying gas or plasma out, which is fairly silly (in order to actually shield a ship from things like missiles, said spray would, by conservation of momentum, have to be either at huge velocities, expending massive amounts of energy, or have a huge mass flow, expending the "fuel" very quickly).

It's likely that shield use some as-yet undiscovered way of manipulating gravitational or powerful electromagnetic fields...but that has nothing to do with sending audiosignals through space. The fact is, once you get out of the atmosphere, any matter in space (and yes, there is a little), is way to rarefied (i.e. not dense) to transmit an audio signal, let a lone a shock wave.

How would you create an explosion in space? Your warhead would need both the combustible (i.e. TNT) and the oxygen for it to burn, yes? I imagine that would dissapate fairly quickly in a vacuum. Perhaps in a spherical or ring-like pattern...

No, and yes. An explosive (usually) has both a fuel and an oxidizer. So explosives would work in space (as would gunpowder...it is a myth that a gun wouldn't fire in space).

You are right, however, that the effects would dissipate quickly. In an atmosphere, an explosive transfers a lot of energy to its surroundings by creating a shock wave that actually outruns the expanding explosive products and travels through the air, and damages items some distance away before the products and fireball even get there (most damage from explosives on earth is accomplished this way). In space, you wouldn't get that shockwave (see above)...although objects nearby still would get a pretty good jolt from the expanding gasses...they have a fair amount of momentum, and close in there is a good bit of heat. However, this would dissipate very quickly...what is generally called an inverse cube relationship (effects go down as the cube of the distance increases). Probably they would be negligible after a few tens of charge diameters, I'm speculating. Shrapnel from the explosion would also pack a punch, assuming the explosive was cased...but the probability of getting hit by shrapnel also goes down with the cube of distance. So a missile exploding right next to a ship would probably damage it, but if you were any kind of distance away from an explosion, you would neither hear nor feel its effects.

The shape of the expanding explosion would strongly depend on the shape of the exploding object.

The depth charge scene in the film has Gerald saying "They're nuking every crater... Methodical bastards." So they're using nukes. Also the script describes the explosions on the moon surface as a mushroom cloud

Unless the moon had an atmosphere, there wouldn't be a mushroom cloud. The mushroom cloud is a function of the interaction of the explosive products with the surrounding atmosphere.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
I never liked the Samurai concept. One of the big problems with the movie for me is that it grabs too many different things at once. It does them all well, but they don't really come together: the Tiger's Claw is a submarine *and* a carrier, the dogfights are modern jets *and* prop planes... we're rushing to Earth as quickly as possible *and* we have a scene talking about Forever War-style time dilation? Samurai (pizza?) cats would just make that even more evident.

Weren't its fucked-up interpretation of Bushido the cornerstone of WW2 Imperial Japan? It seems to make perfect sense for the Kilrathi as envisioned to be fake pretend-samurais going on about honor and what not without actually having any clue about what any of it actually meant. I generally don't like it when sci-fi makes some space-culture a almost-perfect replica of some earth-culture (without lampshading it, anyway,) but they're already space-cats, so hey, why not? :p

I agree that they should have been creepy-mysterious aliens restricted to the VDU though (and hope the same for any Kilrathi War game-reboot,) but I suppose it's difficult to go back to that with the Kilrathi already being widely known as awesome Klingon space-cats... as many people would be complaining about the film not even having 'ANEH KILRATHI IN IT ANGRYFACE' as are whining about how they look now.

No, and yes. An explosive (usually) has both a fuel and an oxidizer. So explosives would work in space (as would gunpowder...it is a myth that a gun wouldn't fire in space).

Heh, it doesn't make much to begin with... it's like saying explosions can't occur underwater because water doesn't' burn or something. Anyway, the only sci-fi film I can recall that tried to stick close to actual science was 2001... Anyone holding it's interpretation of physics against Wing Commander are trying way too hard to find an excuse for hating it. No one complained back when Star Wars did it. Or Star Trek. Or Babylon 5. Or Stargate. Or all that other stuff.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Heh, it doesn't make much to begin with... it's like saying explosions can't occur underwater because water doesn't' burn or something. Anyway, the only sci-fi film I can recall that tried to stick close to actual science was 2001... Anyone holding it's interpretation of physics against Wing Commander are trying way too hard to find an excuse for hating it. No one complained back when Star Wars did it. Or Star Trek. Or Babylon 5. Or Stargate. Or all that other stuff.

If you think no-one has ever complained about the bad science of Star Wars/Star Trek, etc., you've clearly never looked around on these newfangled interwebs much. :) There are entire websites dedicated to complaining about bad science in science fiction.

And actually, Babylon 5 made a halfway decent attempt to not completely screw up the science in their science fiction. At least there, their ships rotate to create gravity in the crew compartments, and the starfighters follow something remotely like the laws of physics.

There's a pretty fun website, http://www.badastronomy.com, that pokes fun at sci-fi movies that get their space-physics wrong.

But I wasn't criticizing the movie for having bad physics. I enjoy sci fi enough that I over look those. I was specifically trying to answer some physics questions other posters had raised. Providing information, not cutting down the movie.
 
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