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

GamesFuhrer

Swabbie
Banned
As a fan of the original games, I didn't really care for it. I remember thinking about a Wing Commander movie way back when I was in the third grade, and I was excited when it finally came out. I was disappointed when it was too dissimilar to the games.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
In my mind the big problem with the Pilgrims is that it comes out of left field... not for confused Wing Commander fans, but for everyone. We never get a reason to *care* that this minority is being oppressed--we don't really understand what they are (still don't!) or what they are an allegory for.

Another problem with the pilgrims is that their "ability" is odd. So, they can calculate jump coordinates without a nav computer... who cares? Who really needs this?

Every starship is fitted with a computer anyway, so their abilities are redudant.

We have people today that can recite pi from memory, like this guy:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Tammet#Pi

Tammet holds the European record for reciting Pi from memory to 22,514 digits in five hours and nine minutes on March 14, 2004.[7] Tammet's record currently ranks 6th in the world


Tammet is well-known for his unusually vivid and complex synesthesia. In his mind, he says, each positive integer up to 10,000 has its own unique shape, colour, texture and feel. He can intuitively "see" results of calculations as synaesthetic landscapes without using conscious mental effort, and can "sense" whether a number is prime or composite. He has described his visual image of 289 as particularly ugly, 333 as particularly attractive, and Pi as beautiful. The number 6 apparently has no distinct image.[4][5] Tammet has described 25 as energetic and the "kind of number you would invite to a party".[6] Tammet not only verbally describes these visions, but has also created artwork, including a watercolour painting of Pi.


Now, we are fascinated by these abilities, but the NASA would not retire their computers and hire these people to do calculations for them. Because, after all, a computer can perform these tasks too.


So the problem with the pilgrim concept is that their ability is just not that important in a high-tech world, that is probably flooded with nav computers.

"So you can calculate jump points? My 50$ nav computer can do it too! Congratulations!"

It looks like the pilgrim abillity is something for the Guinness Book Of Records and not a truly Earth shattering thing.. That a civil war would break out because of this.. The pilgrim stuff is just not a well thought out concept.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Err, that's the whole point of the conflict.

The idea is that the Pilgrims had been the people who could do this *first*--their abilities is what allowed the development of the navcom. It's the difference between flying across the Atlantic ocean in 1927 and in 2010--in one instance you hope I didn't have to sit next to a crying baby and in the other I'm a magnificent superman who is the pride of his age.

The conflict happens because the Pilgrims, who have been the only people exploring space and establishing colonies for some number of years, suddenly find that they no longer have that de facto control over the galaxy.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
Err, that's the whole point of the conflict.

The idea is that the Pilgrims had been the people who could do this *first*--their abilities is what allowed the development of the navcom.


The conflict happens because the Pilgrims, who have been the only people exploring space and establishing colonies for some number of years, suddenly find that they no longer have that de facto control over the galaxy.

Ah, right! Now I remember. It's been a few years since I've seen the move the last time.

Does that mean that the series bible for WCA was invalidated by the movie?

ftp://ftp.wcnews.com/files/academy/series_bible_11-27-95.pdf

In that, a scientist in the 22nd century discovered the jump node phenomenon and this made intersteller flight possible. (for all humans it seems)


Another thing: If you needed a pilgrim to navigate (before the navcom was invented) how was trade possible? The confed spreads out to hundreds or thousands of worlds and systems. There must be millions or billions of trade ships and convoys and personal transporters.

So there was always a pilgrim on board of every human ship? How numerous was this "minority"?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Does that mean that the series bible for WCA was invalidated by the movie?

The behind-the-screens material isn't ever really "canon" unless it's published. I think you'll find, though, that that Academy series bible is largely invalidated by Academy itself. It was written at the start of the project when the idea was that the show would use all the Wing Commander III characters instead of new ones. Check out the character bios--you have Flint instead of Archer, Hobbes instead of Gharal, Cobra instead of Payback, Hyena is Vagabond's brother and so on (and Kilrathi characters based on the WC3 aces, that would have been cool!).

Another thing: If you needed a pilgrim to navigate (before the navcom was invented) how was trade possible? The confed spreads out to hundreds or thousands of worlds and systems. There must be millions or billions of trade ships and convoys and personal transporters.

So there was always a pilgrim on board of every human ship? How numerous was this "minority"?

The movie itself doesn't say, so this is outside of that particular line of criticism, but the Confederation Handbook gives a detailed history of it all--which I will try to sum up here as best I can.

I suppose you first need to know that 'Pilgrim' means multiple things. The best analogy I can think of, if you can forgive it, would be saying that someone is a 'Nazi' during World War II. I might be referring to a person who happens to live in Germany while it is an enemy state, someone who follows Hitler's ideology regardless of where he is or someone who is actually a formal member of the Nazi party.

Similarly Pilgrim can mean someone who has the 'jump mapping' ability (a "Savant"), someone who follows a specific religion (a "McDanielite", followers of Ivar Chu McDaniel's theology) or someone who is part of the Pilgrim Alliance, a militant state that developed from McDaniel's religion (which I suppose can be further divided into people who serve the Alliance government and those who happen to live on their planets). Individual "Pilgrims" might be one or more of these things. For instance, Blair is a Pilgrim because he has the genetic ability but he doesn't follow the McDanielite religion and he isn't a citizen of the Alliance.

Now the history.

Between today and the end of the 23rd century, humanity reaches out and colonizes our own solar system. We build massive ring-shaped space stations and then outposts and colonies. The first terraforming begins in 2079 and the first completely self-sufficient colony, Olympia Station, is founded in 2161.

Several things in this time give rise to the Pilgrims.

The first is the political situation. Earth becomes increasingly isolated--the Outer Planets become a stronger unified body and they begin to resent the fact that they are responsible for providing resources, manufacturing, etc. for the home world. Then in 2219 the First Great Pandemic hits. Earth and the moon are ravaged by a new disease and the Outer Planets Policy Council decides to quarantine Earth--no one can visit or leave the planet. This limits spread of the disease but further cuts ties between space-born humans and those on Earth. It also means that further colonization is being done by the populations already in space and not those on Earth. That's where the second important factor comes into play.

Throughout these three centuries of colonization humans have found that succesful pregnancies on space stations are much less common than on Earth--stillbirths are much more common and conception is harder in the first place. What's happening is that space is selecting for Pilgrim's innate ability to measure graviton fields. The same thing that allows offspring to survive low-gravity pregnancies will later give their descendants the ability to measure jump lines. This isn't fully understood for several generations (since, after all, there are no jump points yet) but it makes the particular gene increasingly common in space... and that's further aided by fact that an influx of genes from Earth slows down and then stops entirely due to the quarantine.

Then, around the turn of the 24th century, a scientist-philosopher named Ivar Chu McDaniel gives this all a religious overtone. In his writings he claims that the now-identifiable unique abilities of those born in space combined with the terrible plagues on Earth are proof that those living in the outer colonies have been elected by God. McDanielites are, he says, destined to leave the solar system and anyone remaining is damned.

His views come at a unique time which allows them to gain traction quickly--the outer planets have supported Earth with food and resources since the Pandemic for little recompense... and in 2304 their scientists make an amazing discovery: the first FTL drive. It's called the Morvan or "Hopper" drive, and it's the first step that will eventually lead to the modern Akwende Drive. Hopper drives are comparatively dangerous and notably slower than jump drives, but they allow mankind to reach the stars in months or years rather than lifetimes (slower-than-light colony ships with fusion drives had been dispatched previously on occasion, but they would take generations to arrive anywhere). McDanielites begin leaving the solar system in droves for twelve star systems in the Sol and Vega Sectors. They're the first major colonies established and so they give birth to a powerful star nation--the Pilgrim Alliance.

The concentration of Savant abilities, outer planets resources, a general advantage in terms of scientific standing and a religious furor gives the Pilgrim Alliance an enormous advantage. Other humans begin colonizing the galaxy, but it is a much more slipshod thing--hopper drives have a high casualty rate when not operated by Pilgrim navigators and Savants not aligned with McDaniel's church are few and far between. Still, the sheer number of lesser colonies established in this manner worries the Alliance.

So in 2462 a heavily armed Pilgrim Alliance warship arrives at Earth with an ultimatum for the Terran Confederation--agree to a treaty that effectively prevents further colonization or face war with the vastly superior Alliance. The "Treaty of Luna" officially bars Terran Confederation colonies from being established within 300ly of Earth... beyond the practical range of the hopper drive.

... but not the jump drive! With a higher population spread over more planets the Confederation catches up with the Alliance in terms of military power and organization within the next century. Then, in 2588, they turn the corner--the invention of the Akwende Drive allows relatively safe space jumps across great distances. A century of building a resource base, unified government and advanced technologies means that hundreds of colonies are now established in a matter of decades-- all outside the 300ly barrier created by the treaty.

The Alliance is outraged--and they still believe themselves the military (and moral) superior of the Confederation... the stage is set for war.
 

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
A bit late to answer but

I think the concept is necessary--you need some reason for Blair to stand out and for the characters to have any sort of conflict with him. You go into the movie alerady knowing he's the hero--he's going to save the day and prove himself... so what are the stakes? You need some bigger idea--that he's proving that his history or his religion or his genetics don't matter.

In my mind the big problem with the Pilgrims is that it comes out of left field... not for confused Wing Commander fans, but for everyone. We never get a reason to *care* that this minority is being oppressed--we don't really understand what they are (still don't!) or what they are an allegory for.


I absolutely agree with the last part but I am not so sure about the first part.

I guess the average WC movie goer does not know that Blair is the hero and there are enough stories out there that work well enough with "fresh young hot shot proves that he's the best" or "unlikely hero because he's a green rookie" and combined with the other plot points (Rosie's death and Blair standing in for Maniac, love interest in Angel) would have made for a sufficient (if not overly original) story.

Also, the way Paladin described the Pilgrims and their powers made the impression on me that they could do more than just calculate very quickly. "Touched by God" just sounds very fantasy and it just felt out of place.


Well, here's my question--is it ugly or is it bad? Because those should be two very different things. If anything, my biggest problem with the Rapier is that the pilots don't really talk about it looking like it does (they ADR a line in that helps a little, but it's weak--"these Rapiers are beat to hell").

I think they should have introduced the idea that it was like one of those great World War II attack planes (or a Thunderbolt or somesuch)--ugly as hell, but beloved by the pilots because it gets the job done. I didn't leave the movie wondering why they didn't give me an especially pretty killing machine, I wondered why they didn't make more a point of what a great job they did of making it look like a real space fighter. (Think about the Falcon from Star Wars--it's ugly but beloved because of how the movie is written around it. She may not look like much...)

You're right, ugly and bad are two different things but I'd also say that the WCM Rapier does not look convincing in the scenes. Maybe it's because of the difficulties you mentioned of integrating real aircraft in the CGI scenes.
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
Also, the way Paladin described the Pilgrims and their powers made the impression on me that they could do more than just calculate very quickly.


Yea, although I know now the pilgrim background story, I am still not a big fan of that.

What always intrigued me though is the "Utopian Underground of 2200" that is mentioned in the Victory Streak manual:

http://wingcommander.by.ru/VS/Streak05.html

Utopian Underground sounds very interesting and I wished there would have expanded on that. Sounds more promising than the pilgrim stuff.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Also, the way Paladin described the Pilgrims and their powers made the impression on me that they could do more than just calculate very quickly. "Touched by God" just sounds very fantasy and it just felt out of place.

It's not exactly doing math quickly--they sort of "feel" their way through jump point gravity wells. It's something an impressive computer can be made to replicate by doing math very quickly to calculate how a ship needs to move... but it's also something that you can see would give rise to a religious interpretation--here's a group of people who are better than everyone else because they can experience the stuff the universe is made of on a higher level.

Utopian Underground sounds very interesting and I wished there would have expanded on that. Sounds more promising than the pilgrim stuff.

Hehe, you would likely be very disappointed--since the Pilgrim backstory in the Confederation Handbook was the expanded history of the time between today and Wing Commander I... written by the *same guy* who included that reference in Victory Streak (Chris McCubbin).

(Also, I will just go right out and say it: I don't know what you're on about, there's absolutely no way that something called the 'Utopian Underground' and is described only as being "a culture that knew prolonged peace" would be a very interesting bad guy.)
 

Wojo

Rear Admiral
Well, here I go.

It's taken a while, but I have forgiven the film. It feels good - I urge everyone to do it. It's like a weight lifting from your shoulders (and falling of the edge of the flight deck in space).

French Paladin: Yeah ok. Why not. He does a good angry.

Gravity/Sound in Space: Sure! Just gird your loins and it'll be fine! If BSG can do it and be loved, surely WC can! (yes I know BSG did it different and/or better)

Dialogue: ~~~. Just turn up your ipod more. (I'm not the only one who goes to movies drunk with a ipod to ignore dialogue, am I?)

Plot holes/Inconsistencies: Well, YOU raise money and make your OWN film...

Ok, so all joking aside, I'm a firm believer in 'let it go'. Yeah, people dislike the movie. What I really love seeing is people being enthusiastic about what the film COULD have been, rather than concentrating on it's sore points. Thats what intertron discussion boards are all about, right?

Personally, I enjoy the film for it's design aspects. I loved the ww2/submarine/shabby space fighter/gritty feeling - you could argue that WC was doing retro before anyone else! (I'm sure there are other examples) I would love to see what they could have done with more time & money (i.e. Merlin - I imagine him as a sort of Alfred a la Batman, y'know, urbane & smooth, and even Michael Caine-ish) and what the cut segments could have added.

But, restating the beginning of my post, I let go a while ago, and it really makes you feel better. Time to start a support group! Also, I suggest a new poll: "Can you forgive the Wing Commander Movie all it's faults?"

Also, with all the added material that has to now be considered 'canon', it opens up a whole plethora of potential fan fiction/mods/rants. Now I consider that a gift to any online community based around a brand that hasn't had a MAJOR official release for more than a decade!

{
me
{
[2 cents]
}
}
 

CT25

Captain
When people complain about the cast, it seems the main target for that dissaproval is Freddie Prinze Jr. I don't see what was so bad about him. I may have other issues with the movie, but I don't agree with all the issues brought up about it.

I liked the movie "Commando" with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Realistic? Heck no, but it was fun. I suppose that's why I was never really bothered with the particular complaints of "Ships can't fall over like that!!" and "Why are they worried about speaking like that in space, they can't hear you!!"
IOW, those things probably shouldn't have been in there, but they're not really that big a deal in a sci-fi space fighter movie.
 

Frosty

a full fledged GF
Two simple points

The "gravity" issue has never made sense to me. It's not explained why the fighters dip and fall upon leaving the edge of the flight deck, so why does everyone insist that it has to be some kind of physics goof? If I were in the committee outlining the requirements for the fleet's new carrier acquisition, I would probably specify that the gravity field should extend some number of yards beyond the edge of the true flight deck specifically because it's easy to foresee the need to push wrecked fighters off into space in order to keep operations moving smoothly. Having them hang around right off the deck, potentially banging into shit would be a bad idea, so why not utilize the systems the ship already has to cast any debris shoved off the deck farther into the void (in this case it would be "down" relative to the orientation of the ship)?

We all know one puts effects like that in a movie to make things look more dramatic, but my example above illustrates that it isn't necessary to then go and defend one's cinematic decision to pedants on the internet. It requires almost no thought at all to envision a plausible explanation if one is absolutely demanded.

The same is true for complaints over whispering-in-space drama. It's clear to me when I watch the movie that they're not actually worried that the Kats are going to hear them; it's simply entirely too early to start cheering and lighting up stogies in celebration of a near miss.

However; it's not necessary for that to be the case. The physical vibrations that actually make up the phenomenon of sound needn't carry through the vacuum of space from one vessel to another. People hooting and hollering aboard one ship could be easily detected by means of a system specifically built to find them - the type of thing that it stands to reason could be equipped to a combat ship that needs to hunt others playing possom on some asteroid. A simple LASER rangefinder tied to some sophisticated analytical equipment could read surface vibrations optically and convert them into audible sounds for operators to use in detecting the enemy - a sort of visual SONAR.

In the case of the space-sounds, this could probably even be done with today's technology.

At the end of the day, it's a science-fiction film, and we're asked to suspend our disbelief about a lot. People complain loudly about perceived mistakes while forgetting that the mere presence of these vessels, lightyears from home, engaged in open warfare with each other is an incredible stretch of the imagination already. Folks bitch because they're unhappy (the reason why is an entirely different discussion), and are casting about for justifications. They think they've hit upon a gotcha — GRAVITY WHERE IT DOESN'T BELONG!! SOUNDS IN SPACE!! — and they fail to follow their thought to its logical conclusion.

If you can think hard enough to find an error in a film you're watching, you can probably think hard enough to understand that it isn't necessarily an error at all, and nobody is going to believe you're clever if you don't.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
If we were talking sci-fi realism, the movie is unrealistic because it's not about ships built around giant railguns shooting each other from so far apart nobody can see anyone else and targeting is done entirely by computers. Boy, wouldn't that be so exciting to watch?
 

Frosty

a full fledged GF
Not necessarily. [strike]You're still making the mistake of believing you can determine what's "realistic" when we're speculating about a distant future unrelated to our present day.[/strike]
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
On the contrary! I am being satirical of all the 'realistic' sci-fi nonsense that's been in print about beyond-visual-range engagements and time distortion and how nobody has invented anything better than radio so they have to send orders five minutes in advance. 'Realism' is the bane of my life.
 

razgriz21

Spaceman
2 out of 5 from me.

Really, it seemed unnecessary with all the changes (designs, cast, etc) and the script was dodgey.

The space combat was OK but I don't like the ship designs. They looked too junky and not space worthy.

However, I did like the score, cinematography (including that silly Matrix camera trick), and the HUD's of the fighters.

I respect Chris Roberts vision but I see the changes as unnecessary and confusing.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
...including that silly Matrix camera trick...
My understanding is that Wing Commander's jump transition pre-dates The Matrix's bullet time. I think it's actually a fairly old technique (I recall seeing it used in advertisements in the 1990s), but it wasn't until The Matrix that it really became popular (and arguably thereafter, overused).
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Wedge009 said:
My understanding is that Wing Commander's jump transition pre-dates The Matrix's bullet time. I think it's actually a fairly old technique (I recall seeing it used in advertisements in the 1990s), but it wasn't until The Matrix that it really became popular (and arguably thereafter, overused).

Yes, Wing Commander came out before The Matrix, linear time and all. Far from being some overused gimmick, WC was the first time the modern form of that technique appeared on film. See TimeSlice in the news archives.
 

razgriz21

Spaceman
I remember seeing that Matrix technique in Lost In Space (released a year earlier before Wing Commander).

OK, the movie is disappointing, bad, but has an odd appeal.

If you watch it as a dramedy, it actually is entertaining.

Also, the "gravity" in space is pretty darn strong. :D (Watch the Rapiers fly off the dock).

Also, the lack of a central villain hurts.

Well, it was Chris's movie but I respect him for his vision even though I'm kind of 50/50 on it.

Oh well, I did enjoy his productions (Lord of War, The Punisher, Lucky Number Slevin, Outlander).
 
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