Did you like the Wing Commander movie?

Do you like the Wing Commander movie?

  • Yes

    Votes: 30 61.2%
  • No

    Votes: 19 38.8%

  • Total voters
    49

Mace

Vice Admiral
It definitely gives off that feeling...

A long, long time ago, I read the following setting in a newspaper cartoon:

Americans, europeans, and russians were sitting at a table, and the discussion was this: When aliens come, we are all earthlings!

Wing commander especially has french, germans, asians, africans, australians in it's cast, to set the setting that the world has united in the future and fights a common enemy. If you consider that anti-american, I'd say you think badly about the people living in the village next to you too ;)
 

G Man

Rear Admiral
Hopefully Frostytheplebe was just joking about the anti-American thing. Personally, while I'm not an America-basher, I can't stand the phrase "anti-American", I think so what if something doesn't completely bow down to the notion of being American (whatever that's supposed to be).
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
Hopefully Frostytheplebe was just joking about the anti-American thing. Personally, while I'm not an America-basher, I can't stand the phrase "anti-American", I think so what if something doesn't completely bow down to the notion of being American (whatever that's supposed to be).

I wasn't actually kidding, nor was I implying that that is what I thought it was. I just asked if that was the point Loaf was trying to make. Honestly I would hope that is not the case.

G-Man's comments on the other hand, yeah that was funny!
 

G Man

Rear Admiral
There's only two Americans in that film, isn't there? (Prinze and Lillard) Isn't the British/European-heavy cast due to where it was filmed (Luxembourg)? It just (depending on how you view it) unintentionally sort of enforces the old Europeans are cleverer (or can act better) than Americans stereotype, which is just a stereotype. (in fact some of the British actors in this film don't do that great a job)
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
There's only two Americans in that film, isn't there? (Prinze and Lillard) Isn't the British/European-heavy cast due to where it was filmed (Luxembourg)? It just unintentionally sort of enforces the old Europeans are cleverer (or can act better) than Americans stereotype (which is just a stereotype)

There were a few other American voices throughout the movie, but yeah I think they were the only two live. I always envisioned that the guy with the scar on his face was Iceman as it seemed to fit his persona. With that thought, I thought the kid who flew with him must have been a young hawk. Turned out to be wrong, but it was an interesting thought.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
When I read reviews, the thing that stands out about the casting from people not versed in Wing Commander is that they don't really like Freddy Prinze Jr. (though I think Ebert called him likeable). Across the board people seem to think Maniac is the best character though often they they take off points for his surfer chic, and they forget about everyone else other than Jurgen Prochnow because he was in a submarine movie, and because he's racist against Pilgrims for reasons that are never explained. I don't think anyone ever faults the concept of the casting.

Ultimately most reviewers that are fair minded and not WC versed tend to pick the movie's pacing and that it -when it comes down to it- is forgetable as it's worst flaw. I happen to agree. I really hope that one day you all get to watch a full version of the film... preferable if possible with Merlin in it as well, since I'm convinced that's the only way the movie works... and it's the closest you'll get to the movie Chris Roberts and the folks who left Origin specifically to make the film intended to make.

It won't make you like most of the dialogue, or ship designs or casting, but it just works better as a whole. Things are in context. The actual climax has weight. Even Maniac's performance comes off better. I don't know if it's the ADR but a lot of the emotional weight of the performances is lost between the workprint and the theatrical cut. It's still not a masterpiece, but it's certainly a better film.

One thing that becomes apparent is that the movie has two halves. The first is the slow build up, and the second hour is pretty much straight action. The removal of the traitor subplot got rid of a few fleet scenes early in the film that gave the battle context. Things needed to be edited and moved around to bring focus back on the mission instead of getting sidetracked by all the characterization (meeting the crew etc).

Merlin is interesting. Originally I hated the idea. Someone else in the production must have too (and it would have been expensive I guess). I figured it was good he was gone. I'm more and more convinced now though that, not only is he essential to the film, that he was less of an annoying jar jar level comic relief character, and more a cynical straight-faced type. It also keeps freddy talking to himself/narrating in the film from seeming bizarre. It's also key to the traitor subplot and dropping merlin essentially (in a round about way) is why the subplot was removed.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I've always liked the casting, excepting Freddie.

I would agree with AD that the movie's biggest sin, to non-WC fans, is that it's forgettable. Somehow they lost a lot of what could have made it unique and it just comes across as "another B-grade sci-fi Star-Wars rip-off".

I don't understand people complaining about the ship designs. Every WC game had different ship designs, and even different design styles (for example, the very organic symmetric shapes used by both the Kilrathi and the Confederation in WC2 compared to the pointy, assymetric Kilrathi style and blocky, "yay we finally have polygons" Confed style in WC3). I thought the ship designs were one of the prettiest things in the movie. The fighters fantastically conveyed that they were out-of-date, seen some wear craft (too bad they picked a name for the one fighter in the WC1 era that did NOT fit that description...).

In the end, my biggest problem with the movie, other than Prinze's acting and the poor editing, is the efforts to pay service to the WC fans that totally misfired. E.g. needing a pilot who died in the game to be dead in the movie, but picking Bossman, which totally jars with the game storyline, as opposed to, say, Skinner or Dribbles. Or needing a name a fighter that WC fans would recognize, but picking Rapier instead of, say, Scimitar. Or needing a flagship of the Terran Fleet and picking Concordia... It almost would have been better if they hadn't tried to pay so much service to the games...
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
In the end, my biggest problem with the movie, other than Prinze's acting and the poor editing, is the efforts to pay service to the WC fans that totally misfired. E.g. needing a pilot who died in the game to be dead in the movie, but picking Bossman, which totally jars with the game storyline, as opposed to, say, Skinner or Dribbles. Or needing a name a fighter that WC fans would recognize, but picking Rapier instead of, say, Scimitar. Or needing a flagship of the Terran Fleet and picking Concordia... It almost would have been better if they hadn't tried to pay so much service to the games...

For better or worse, those were pretty much the only choices they had. In the conversion from game to film, you have to boil down to the core elements. People who played Wing Commander remember the main wingmen who sat at the table. They remember a few big name ships (Rapier, Excalibur) and a few big named ships (Tiger's Claw, Concordia).

In the span of just a few weeks, more tickets were sold to see the Wing Commander movie in theaters than the combined sales of all boxed Wing Commander games ever sold. Only fraction of the audience will have recognized the terms Bossman, Rapier or Concordia, and even less would have a gripe about them being used incorrectly. The Wing Commander movie has actually reached far more people than the games did, and the movie continues to keep the franchise going (and bringing new fans here!) through television broadcasts and DVD reprintings.
 

CT25

Captain
I wasn't crazy about the movie as a WC movie, though I thought it was an okay movie in and of itself.

Of the major criticisms that get thrown at the movie, one I didn't have a problem with was the casting; it would have been nice had they got a Scottish guy for Paladin, but I thought the guy they got was pretty good. And a lot of people complained about Prinze, I actually thought he did a good job with the script he was given.
 

G Man

Rear Admiral
In the span of just a few weeks, more tickets were sold to see the Wing Commander movie in theaters than the combined sales of all boxed Wing Commander games ever sold.

If that's true than WC3, 4 and Prophecy would have been flops. The movie only made $11 million at the box office, that's less than the budget of WC4.
 

G Man

Rear Admiral
So you know what the sales of the all the games are? I wouldn't have guessed that a film that grossed what Wing Commander did sold more cinema tickets than all 5 games (and then there's Amada, Academy and possibly Privateer). I have no idea what kind of sales games used to have in the 90s but I thought the Wing Commander series was supposed to be one of the more successful ones.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
So you know what the sales of the all the games are? I wouldn't have guessed that a film that grossed what Wing Commander did sold more cinema tickets than all 5 games (and then there's Amada, Academy and possibly Privateer). I have no idea what kind of sales games used to have in the 90s but I thought the Wing Commander series was supposed to be one of the more successful ones.

Chris Roberts used to have his ascendant pictures bio list something like the WC series as having made over 400 million. That's for all games and tie-ins. At 70 dollars a game, that works out to maybe 5.7 million copies (Back when WC1 came out it wasn't unusual for PC games to cost 80-90 even). But we have to devide that between the games. So WC 1-4 plus Priv 1 means you have barely over a million copies per game but this isn't factoring all other merchandise in. Also, many of the people bought all four games so we again aren't representing the actual number of people that bought the game in any way.

On the other hand, we only have figures for the US movie release. We don't have a clue what it made internationally at the box office. With a theatrical gross of about 12 million we can assume that ( at an estimated 10 dollar ticket price) at least 1.2 million people in the USA - not factoring in repeat viewings - went to the movie in theaters. This doesn not include any country outside the US or DVD and Cable showings.

Now we do know - again this is in the US only -rental figures for the WC movie on VHS and DVD up to october 1999 were around 20 million dollars. That's a lot of five dollar movie rentals (four million). Again this is US figures only rental and theatrical data.

How many more people saw the movie internationally in theaters? How many have watched it on TV the countless times it's been rebroadcast... and in HD even? Pretty much every week, there's a satelite or cable broadcast of the film somewhere in the world.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
On the other hand, we only have figures for the US movie release. We don't have a clue what it made internationally at the box office. With a theatrical gross of about 12 million we can assume that ( at an estimated 10 dollar ticket price) at least 1.2 million people in the USA - not factoring in repeat viewings - went to the movie in theaters. This doesn not include any country outside the US or DVD and Cable showings.

Now we do know - again this is in the US only -rental figures for the WC movie on VHS and DVD up to october 1999 were around 20 million dollars. That's a lot of five dollar movie rentals (four million). Again this is US figures only rental and theatrical data.

That's using today's prices. I don't think I paid more than $5.50 to see Wing Commander in theaters anywhere. You're looking at about two million people seeing Wing Commander in the US alone in the month of March 1999 - roughly about the same number of people bought a Wing Commander game in the 1990s.

But it's not a math discussion. The point was just that the movie brought lots of exposure to the series, and the vast majority wouldn't have any preconceived notions about what the film 'should' be like. We frequently hear from fans who got into the games because of the movie, and that's a great thing.
 

FekLeyrTarg

Rear Admiral
Well, I think it's not that bad but it could've been better and closer to the games. The only similarity I've seen is the design of the Tiger Claw to the Tiger's Claw from Super Wing Commander and to the Lexington from WC Armada.
And the Kilrathi don't look like cats.
 

QuailPilot

Spaceman
I actually watched it with a girl, and she enjoyed it. (The night I got to chose a movie.)

She mentioned that a few things felt like were left out, or could be better explained, but she liked the things like the drop at the end of the deck and stuff. She thought it was pretty artistic and all that.
 

Kaunisto

Rear Admiral
I have tendency to hate (or at least be very critical of) all movies made of my favourite books, games and comics; that means I rated LotR 7-8/10, Spider-Man annoys the hell out of me and David Lynch should hang for Dune.
So I'm not very good at judging them "as movie", like seen by non-fans. But even considering that, I think WC really is a bad movie. Plot is silly, most actors bad, their dialog worse and special effects - particularly important element in scifi - just suck.

Animated series is much better.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
I voted that I didn't like the movie because when I saw it first, I really didn't like it and was very disappointed. It took me some time to accept it and when I watch it now, I enjoy it because I tend to focus on the good parts of the movie (the soundtrack and the space battles).

It wasn't only that changes (or what I perceived as changes) werde made that bothered me but that I found those changes to be very poor choices. The Pilgrim stuff is just stupid in my eyes and not because we didn't hear about it before but the concept itself. The WCM Rapier is one of the ugliest fighter designs I ever saw and I am not too fond of the Tiger's Claw or the Broadsword either.
Oh well, there are a lot of movies that are definately worse.
 

kadonbeir

1st Lieutenant
True. I tossed in that I like it. Its a "B Sci-fi Action movie" in a time when those were popular (see Starship Troopers). Both all right movies. Decent action movies in their own right. Just I'd rather they stuck with their original material a bit more.

But, I want to hand it to Chris Roberts for actually going out on the limb and wanting to make his games a reality. I think that alone makes me like it whether the movie was a success or failure. It would have to be much worse for me to truly despise it.
 
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