Wing Commander Movie in Kotaku.

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
One of the documents listed in the University of Texas' Origin holdings that I'll be visiting in August is a 1991 Wing Commander movie pitch. I'm pretty darned excited about seeing that...

He's looking at WCA today...let's see how that goes.
The Academy article makes a little more sense--telling people about something great they likely missed. He also went through the trouble of reading through the production materials we'd scanned, which was a nice touch. I don't quite understand pointing people to the weirdly cut up YouTube versions (which aren't just crummy looking but frequently delete segments of the show) instead of our meticulously preserved downloads (Which all have the same source!... the tapes I made of the show in high school.)

Never read the sequel to the movie novel. Worth tracking down, friends?
Ahh... huh. It fairly frustrating. Peter Telep's idea for the Pilgrims was that he would make them especially crazy and strange in Pilgrim Stars and then (SPOILER WARNING) just delete them entirely from the world at the end of his second book, putting you back on track for classic Wing Commander.

... but then the last book was never published (we have it! We're going to release it online soon!) so you are left wih a very unpleasant cliffhanger.

I will say this, though: if you have any interest at all buy it now. So few copies were printed that it's going to be the 'Kilrathi Saga' of 2020 (or whenever the series coms back).
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Ahh... huh. It fairly frustrating. Peter Telep's idea for the Pilgrims was that he would make them especially crazy and strange in Pilgrim Stars and then (SPOILER WARNING) just delete them entirely from the world at the end of his second book, putting you back on track for classic Wing Commander.
Personally, what I found frustrating was more that he introduced some marvelous ideas or scenarios... and then either didn't follow through on them (explaining the different kinds of Pilgrims) or didn't get a chance to finish others because of the second book being canceled.

I did rather like his movie novelization though.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
One reason I think the Wing Commander movie recieves such bad press is that its a continual cycle of news from certain fans and critics that the movie is terrible. Most critics who reviewed the movie, especially when it was first released, probably were not huge fans of the video game. They did not have much to judge on when viewing the material out of context. Then all of the fans who wanted basically Wing Commander 1: The Movie started spouting their outrage at the artistic changes and certain plot descrepancies and the reviewers picked up on that.

I don't think the movie is a great film. But its certainly not a bad one either. I think that a lot of the knocking the movie has taken is a result of some of our fans spouting how much it sucked, and reviewers going with that line.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
I think that a lot of the knocking the movie has taken is a result of some of our fans spouting how much it sucked
This is basically my problem with people who love Star Wars but nebulously hate George Lucas for prequel things. Its fine if you don't like the movies, everyone has their taste - but once you start rattling the sabers about how you "refuse to acknowledge them" or "they're not canon" or whatever, you're no longer a fan. You've crossed the line. You're just some ignorant dollar store know-nothing whos angry about something they don't understand.
 

DaveO

Commodore
To put things in perspective, I recently watched another video game movie recently called Mortal Kombat. Some people consider the movie one of the better video game movies, but unfortunately it fails the critical 5-10 year test. The 5-10 year test basically means whether the movie is as good as you remember it being. If I were to rate Mortal Kombat today on a scale of 10, I'd rank it at 3 or 4. 5-10 years ago, I'd probably have given it a 5 out of 10.

With the Wing Commander movie, I think the criticism is viewing it from the lens of all the WC games which were pretty popular up to WC4. Expecting the movie to have the same quality of the games as well as possibly the same cast is a folly. I could go on about the successes and failures of the WC movie, but in my opinion it is certainly NOT the worst video game movie that was made.

P.S. - In regards to Spoony, the only user base I can see is people that like to listen to random rambling for 20-40 minutes. His Ultima perspective videos were mostly lazy since he just searched for content online of gameplay so that he could work in his really stupid skits. I've stated before that brevity would be much better for him. I'm sorely tempted to find out where he lives in Arizona, so that I can drive over and give him a much needed reality check.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
I don't think the movie is a great film. But its certainly not a bad one either. I think that a lot of the knocking the movie has taken is a result of some of our fans spouting how much it sucked, and reviewers going with that line.
This was a time where the internet wasn't this prolific "driving force" that marketing goons keep mixing up with a potential market. The critical panning the movie got falls squarely on the hordes of local paper reviewers.

I went to see it with my dad and a friend, and of the three of us I was the only one who didn't adore it... entirely because I was an idiot. Now that I'm older and I've seen movies that are actually horrifically bad I think it's a really great sci-fi movie.

As a former rabid fanboy I am still irked by the changes, but in the end I can say... at least Blair didn't discover Angel was a Kilrathi infiltration clone and she was pregnant with his baby.
 

ourchair

Spaceman
As a former rabid fanboy I am still irked by the changes, but in the end I can say... at least Blair didn't discover Angel was a Kilrathi infiltration clone and she was pregnant with his baby.
I think I've seen a movie like that.


I think the late 90s was a weird time for big budget science fiction, and there'sprobably some inference to be made about the fact that it was the turn of the millenium and what its effect was on those movies.

I mean we had Lost in Space, in which a family gets stranded on a planet where a temporal anomaly created by the future son threatens to kill them all. And Star Wars was about space knights on a trade negotiation who accidentally get involved with a 14 year old democratically elected princess and make a pit stop on a desert planet where the Chosen One resides. And then there was the Matrix.

I think the debatable merits of thsoe movies interests me less than the fact that writing-wise they were all kind of nuts.
 

ourchair

Spaceman
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 must see this.

I recently saw the movie as well, and I was puzzled by it. I can't tell if it's the memories of the novel or the first time I saw the movie, but I feel like the 96-minute cut is missing some scenes that I must've read in either the novel or a cut of the movie that doesn't match what I have now.

For one thing, we are told James Taggart and Christopher Blair and Todd Marshall are on the Diligent, but the characters aren't really introduced when we cut to the Diligent. Like the viewers are meant to already know who's who.

I mean it's easy to guess, but it's kind of big-budget movie storytelling standard practice to actually put the names of the characters to the actor's faces the first scenes you see them in. And there's an abrupt cut between Angel schooling Blair and the next scene where Maniac is telling Blair that he's hitting on her.

Am I remembering incorrectly that these were in other cuts of the movie, or have I just let memories of the novel bleed into the film?

Bandit LOAF said:
Maniac was just an asshole in the original Wing Commander, too (which is when the movie is set). It was Tom Wilson who changed the character, not the Wing Commander movie.
I'm of the opinion that that the Maniac we know from Tom Wilson, and the slightly crazed Maniac we know from WC1 and WC2 are not entirely irreconcilable with one another as the same character. The only thing that never jived with me is any time it is indicated in various representations that he and Blair are 'long-time buds'.
 

Evan

Rear Admiral
Then all of the fans who wanted basically Wing Commander 1: The Movie started spouting their outrage at the artistic changes and certain plot descrepancies and the reviewers picked up on that.
I don't think so. I think, the problem is, that all of the "fans" wanted to see a WC3 The Movie and they didn't want Blair to be replaced with any other than Mark Hamill.

A Wing3-Movie would have been a great idea, but would left out non-fans wondering, what the hell is happening. On the other side, Wing 1 is not really a Wing 1 either...
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I must see this.

I recently saw the movie as well, and I was puzzled by it. I can't tell if it's the memories of the novel or the first time I saw the movie, but I feel like the 96-minute cut is missing some scenes that I must've read in either the novel or a cut of the movie that doesn't match what I have now.

For one thing, we are told James Taggart and Christopher Blair and Todd Marshall are on the Diligent, but the characters aren't really introduced when we cut to the Diligent. Like the viewers are meant to already know who's who.

I mean it's easy to guess, but it's kind of big-budget movie storytelling standard practice to actually put the names of the characters to the actor's faces the first scenes you see them in. And there's an abrupt cut between Angel schooling Blair and the next scene where Maniac is telling Blair that he's hitting on her.

Am I remembering incorrectly that these were in other cuts of the movie, or have I just let memories of the novel bleed into the film?
Well, you have timing of the theatrical cut right. With Credits the PAL version runs about 96 minutes with the NTSC version being the correct 100min aprox. including credits due to the framerate difference between PAL and NTSC.

I don't think you're recollection of the scenes is quite right though. We do get introduced in a fashion. When Admiral Tolwyn asks what ships are in the sector he's told Todd Marshal and Christopher Blair are with a requisitioned merchantman (the Diligent). Tolwyn asks to talk to blair and we cut to Paladin telling Blair he has a message. Also Paladin is always refering to Blair as Mr. Blair.

THere's not alot missing in this segment other than an extended conversation between Blair, Maniac and Merlin when Maniac comes to tell Blair he's wanted on the bridge (for the message). There's also a subsequent scene on one of the Kilrathi ships where the we find out there was a Pilgrim Traitor on the Pegasus and that he wants the Kilrathi to destroy Earth. But that has little to do with introducing characters.

If you've read the Novel, then you know what's missing though. Save for the Epilogue which is really like the first chapter to Pilgrim Stars, the Novelization reads very very closely to the shooting script. Pretty much every single thing in there was shot.
 

CT25

Captain
I'm certainly not a huge fan of the movie, but I actually liked FP Jr. in the movie, I thought he did good for a newbie pilot on the ship.
That's where I'll disagree with others who disliked the movie: they couldn't have got Wilson or Hamill to be in the movie as rookies, it wouldn't have looked realistic (though it would have been nice to have some real cameos from them). I liked the casting of the movie overall (though still really wish they could have got McDowell as Tolwyn).


One of the points of that article I agree with is I wish the spelling errors could have been corrected.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Bandit LOAF said:
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 must see this...
For the curious, there has always been hints at what's in the deleted scenes here at the CIC since... before the movie came out. Often ignored, a number of screenshots that we've had since before the movie came out have had elements that aren't in the finished film. Over time we've also uncovered various bits that have been sitting under our noses all along. Lets run through a few examples.



This particular picture is interesting because immediately you don't quite recognize where this is supposed to be from in the film, and until recently we didn't really have any context.

Upon close examination though you can tell that the walls are rock and that the Marine isn't wearing a helmet, nor the standard Marine armor. So what is this? It's obviously not during the concom raid late in the film. It really only fits into the Pegasus attack. A close examination will tell you that this looks an awful lot like one of the guards that is attacked by the kilrathi while Admiral Wilson and the Pegasus' security officer watch on a security camera. This whole sequence is maybe 2 to 4 seconds in the finished film.

Enter Ed Rice. Ed Rice was one of the people that worked *inside* the Kilrathi animatronic suits. We recently uncovered a video he posted of his work on the film, and wouldn't you know it? It has behind the scenes footage of this very scene in discussion:

What is apparent is that it was originally a more elaborate shootout in the corridor with the guard's possition being overran. It might not have ammounted to a significant amount of screen time, but interestingly the workprint also has a few extra frames in this segment as well. In the theatrical cut the order of shots is actually jumbled to make it seem like it was an attack on multiple decks but it's obvious it's one longer sequence originally. The guards are pulling back, shooting at the kilrathi. At least one goes down by gunfire. On the DVD you can see the woman in the picture then run away. Apparently she was going to meet her end with a set of claws to the face! Gah... ugly Kilrathi or not I think I would have liked to see that. (And, I have no idea why one is mirrored)


We all knew that the Merlin character was nixed early on. But for years we debated on exactly when the production decided to not use the character and ultimated ruin the possibilty the inclusion of the traitor subplot in the theatrical cut. Only recently did we find out that the proof that they actually shot all the scenes in the movie to allow for Merlin existed.... And it had been right under our noses for years. When examining the films electronic press kit and removing the music track (they conveniently had the music in one channel and the camera audio in the other) it turns out there was a shot of on of Merlin's scenes!

Now how about that Traitor subplot?
.




Who is that among those hairles felines? Why, it's a Pilgrim traitor! Again, these shots have been online since before the film came out. This fellow would have had several scenes thoughout the film where he converses with the Kilrathi Admiral and urges them to destroy earth and not underestimate the crew of the Tiger Claw. Oh, and check out that shiny idol of Sivar in the foreground of those first couple of shots!



What a strange pose! Well, that is because this Cat has just been startled by Christopher Blair grenading the "pillbox-like" door to the Concon bridge. Aware of the attack by Confed marines. This ugly fellow is waiting patiently over the self-destruct button. Can plair explode his chest before his hand comes down on the big red game-ending button?


Whoa! Wait a minute! Those are two confed marines duking it out! Blair has cleared the Kilrathi bridge, but discovered the ULF transmitter that begins broadcasting a highfrequency burts detailing the Tiger Claw's location to the whole fleet. Gerald is upset blair has left his post in the Diligent's ion gun turret and suspects it's because he's a traitor. One of the real traitors (see above) tries to pit Blair against Gerald. Perhaps a knife fight with a pilgrim cross will prove Blair's loyalty to the Pilgrim cause. In this picture Blair gets the upper hand in time to prove to Gerald where his loyalties really lie.



Do you remeber two really akward jump transitions in the theatrical cut? There was one where Maniac shimmies in slow motion and one where Blair's face goes black . I know I've wondered why the jump effects weren't consistent. Why didn't they use the same timeslice technology for all of them. Well, this picture kind of suggests that they did! Notice the huge curved camera rig set up around the Rapier cockpit. My guess is that this is near the end of the film where Blair needs to jump a rapier into sol system to warn the fleet. So why didn't they use the effect? My guess was that it's possible the footage was either unusable or not dynamic enough to give the idea that time is standing still for Blair for a second or two. Maybe Chris didn't like that Blair had his mouth open the whole time! (he actually has his facemask on for the jump).

Note that the second picture also has the rig on the flight deck but it doesn't acutally look like it's set up for a shot in that picture.

For more info on just what was cut from the movie, here's a rundown of some of the scenes in the script along with screenshots from the workprint: https://www.wcnews.com/articles/movie_cuts.shtml

Way back before the film was released the 3 minute international trailer that got leaked online also contained several second of footage not in the finished film, including a brief explosion. Keen eyes will notice that Blair and Gerald in marine outfits are knocked down by the explosion of a grenade detonated by the dying Pilgrim traitor. You can download the whole trailer in terrible quality here or just get the video I made that tries to isolate the extra footage here: http://download.wcnews.com/files/wcm/wcm_trailer_deletedscenes.avi

You can also check out the movie novelization which is pretty faithful to the shooting script, or you can search our archives for the various drafts of the film we have online.
 

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ourchair

Spaceman
I don't think you're recollection of the scenes is quite right though. We do get introduced in a fashion. When Admiral Tolwyn asks what ships are in the sector he's told Todd Marshal and Christopher Blair are with a requisitioned merchantman (the Diligent). Tolwyn asks to talk to blair and we cut to Paladin telling Blair he has a message. Also Paladin is always refering to Blair as Mr. Blair.
I'm pretty sure my recollection is incorrect. That's why I'm asking.

As for 'not being properly introduced' I mean to say is that in the 96 minute cut, we can infer that Prinze, Lillard and Karyo are Blair, Marshall and Taggart, but only because the preceding scene talks about them. I'm not saying we don't know, but they basically go for a handful of minutes without actually referring to each other by names (Blair and Marshall calls Taggart 'Sir' and Taggart only addresses them by surname sporadically)

AD said:
If you've read the Novel, then you know what's missing though. Save for the Epilogue which is really like the first chapter to Pilgrim Stars, the Novelization reads very very closely to the shooting script. Pretty much every single thing in there was shot.
Yes, I've read the novel. Multiple times. That's why I feel like I'm blurring the two. I watch the movie this year and I'm like, "Wait, isnt there something? Doesn't Maniac touch a sidearm and go, "I know what I'm about." (which I am absolutely sure is in the novel not the movie)" That's the experience I'm trying to describe, and which is why I'm so curious about the longer cut.
 

Karakkaze

Spaceman
For my thoughts on this thread in general I'll just quote TvTropes on this one.

"You don't get credit for stuff you don't put in the movie because, now try to follow this because it's a pretty big leap, you didn't put it in the movie. I shouldn't have to wait months and watch all your deleted scenes to say 'Oh, this finally makes sense!' or pore through some non-canon books to say 'Oh, so this isn't a pile of nonsensical horse**** after all!'"

Censored because eh.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
That's stupid, no one is insisting the movie is secretly great because of the cuts--they're saying the story of what happened is itself very interesting.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
What irks me is that people insist that somehow the crew set out to somehow screw everyone's idea of what WC is and purpose to ruin the universe they created. That just isn't true. No matter how much people hate the movie (irrationally or justifiably) the truth isn't anything like that. And while stuff like the odd choices in casting and production design would still be there, I think that what ended up in theaters isn't anything close to what they really would have liked you to see. A better version of the movie exists somewhere. You can pretend to hate it if you want. Now matter how good or bad it also won't change the quality or history of the theatrical verison.
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
For my thoughts on this thread in general I'll just quote TvTropes on this one.

"You don't get credit for stuff you don't put in the movie because, now try to follow this because it's a pretty big leap, you didn't put it in the movie. I shouldn't have to wait months and watch all your deleted scenes to say 'Oh, this finally makes sense!' or pore through some non-canon books to say 'Oh, so this isn't a pile of nonsensical horse**** after all!'"
If any of that was accountable, then Battlestar Galactica Redux wouldn't be popular with stupids.
 

Oceankhayne

Commodore
my experience with the movie was multi sided
did I like the movie, yes
did I think that they would have been better off extrapolating on the prophecy storyline or even the privateer storyline, yes, but the prophecy one if they could get the same actors (if just to give the pornstar some more "A" grade screen time)
Independent of physics, "graviton" fields and nitpicky things that some trekkies and wookies only have the analness to get into,
the movie was a great movie in and of itself, even better if you try to think of it as alternate universe fanfiction, but anyone would be a high class filibusterer to not agree that they could have done better especially with a budget of 30 mil, and a return of only 11-12 mil everyone knows it was a disaster economically.
The only thing that I absolutely despised about the movie is the whole "naval" (think submarine) combat in space, ugh (brain oozing out of ear from the way it was done)
other people are galled that Blair was a pilgrim or a newtype or a coordinator, BIGOTS, about as bad as the religious bigotry that has cropped up in the US over the past 10 years in fact but now that I've gotten off topic I'll put my 1.5 cents in on the BSG issue overlooking they made STARBUCK a CAT, they packed it so full of drama that it reminded me of this tv show called PASSIONS that me grand ma used to watch, can we say SGU anyone, flop
 
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