It's funny -- we streamed a new longer cut of the Wing Commander movie in #WingNut last weekend and had a grand old time watching and talking about it. I guess the Kotaku guy was doing the exact opposite thing at the same time.
My big problem, as always, is that I don't get the point of the article in the first place. "The Wing Commander movie is bad!" Well, there's a stunningly original thesis. Is there anyone in the world who doesn't agree with this? Or already know it? It's not a movie review where you're telling people to save their money, it's not a critical film study with any real detail. It's just such a stupid sickly cynical thing aimed at this terrible audience of people whose whole deal is that they enjoy hating things. Boo to that.
And I'd be interested to read the story of that disappointment--just from the perspective of a Wing Commander fan in 1998-9 watching the build up to the movie... that would be a great article.
The one thing that really bothered me when I saw the movie in theaters back then was the introduction of the whole "Pilgrim" thing. It didn't fit anywhere with everything I knew about the games I grew up playing and loved.
That's a great story! I know many people that came to the series from the movie. In fact it's actually quite surprising how many people see the CIC gang at dragoncon and other events and ask when we'll see a sequel.But, the following weekend I dragged a few friends to see it with me a second time and we had a good time with it. Like most folks I had issues with it, mostly about how different it was from the games. But, seeing as how Chris Roberts himself did it, I couldn't complain too much about this version of his vision.
Hell, some of those friends I dragged to the theater ended up becoming fans of Wing Commander. So in that way, You could say they accomplished something!
Another thing I never really liked about these so-called 'retrospectives' is how everyone calls out Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard as terrible actors or terrible choices for leads, and I'm all like, look, this movie has a whole number of problems that have nothing to do with these actors. It's like saying Arnold Schwarzenegger was a lousy Mr. Freeze, when all he did was take the material that was handed to him.
I really liked Telep's novelization of the film and even bought the follow-up Pilgrim Stars. He really showed the potential to be had in the alternate universe established by the movie by evoking a great sense of despair in a time of war, which elaborated on the mysticism and post-human condition that the Pilgrims possessed and which had a traitor subplot that was much better developed than any of the traitor subplots that Roberts had ever created in the games. It's no Black Company, but it isn't trash.
I agree that the movie would have been better with the traitor stuff left in. The challenge was both money and editing. Sowhere along the line they decided not to use the Merlin character save for some of the Fighter computer stuff. That left them in a bind as it was near impossible to make the traitor stuff make sense without Merlin.I think it was a bad decsion to cut out the traitor-plot. Since WC2, the war painted as a dark and dangerous war, which destroyed the mental health of the characters bit by bit, changing their characters in a very interesting way. I always thought, that this should be in the movie, the suspense of deceeption. I think, the Pilgrim-thing would have been better recieved, if those scenes were included.
Actually there was at least one document from early in the movie's development (which coincides with the development of WC4) where they were possibly going to call the Borderworlders... or something like that. It kind of suggests some interesting things about why they were singled out and specifically Paulson's comments to blair about them being subhuman.