"Since no one's managed to put two-and-two together, I'll mention the only reason Wing Commander is getting a theatrical release and not headed straight-to-video is because She's All That (starring Freddie Prinze, Jr.) opened to such big numbers. That's the only thing that saved this movie from oblivion.
"Fox is now also planning on tagging the flick with the new 4 1/2 minute Star Wars trailer exclusively for its opening weekend. Given how weak WC is, they figure on grabbing all the loot they can the first weekend, since the grosses will plummet drastically based on bad word of mouth once people see it. But with Prinze, some competent marketing, and the Star Wars trailer, the film could double its budget back before vanishing from theaters in a month (which would only take about $50 million to do).
"As for the movie, well... it's basically the indulgence of a cocky, inexperienced first-time director. It has all the usual mistakes, just magnified onto a larger-than-usual canvas. Most of the problems should've been caught (and could've been fixed) at script stage. For instance, the film doesn't even know who its main character is! It's too bad there wasn't a strong, experienced producer on board to steer this film where it should've/could've gone. There's some nice work here and there, but it's mired in a mess. For example, there's some decent visual effects (cool space battles), but the Kilrathi make-up is just... sad.
"The cast is basically split between 'older' and 'younger' actors. The 'older' ones are good, though limited by their material. Tcheky Karyo really shines, and you can't help but wonder what he could have done with a real script. (Personally, I think he should have been the main character.) Suchet and Warner are solid, but don't have a lot to do. Quarshie is only glimpsed. Jurgen Prochnow is sorta surreal, actually, given the oh-so-obvious Das Boot rip-offs the film makes at every turn.
"An aside: Prochnow's character keeps obsessing (somewhat irrationally) about the fact that Blair is a 'Pilgrim,' over and over, ranting and raving. It's annoying and meaningless, because his prejudice isn't based on anything rational. It's thinly explained way too late in the film to matter, and is one of many examples of poor writing and shallow character development the film is strewn with.
"The younger cast is uniformly bad, except for Saffrom Burrows -- but she's grossly miscast. As the Wing Commander herself, she commands no authoritative presence. She just has pouty lips. Prinze, Jr. (Blair) is vacuous, dim and distant. He doesn't have the magnetism or charisma of a 'leading man.' In fact, it feels like he doesn't even know he's the lead in the film. Matthew Lillard (Maniac) is atrociously grating and annoyingly out-of-control, chewing scenery with reckless abandon. You want to shoot him. Ginny Holder (Rosie) doesn't exude any depth, nor inspire any interest -- which can be said of all four of these actors.
And, of course, we're subjected to ridiculous 'romance' subplots, pairing Prinze with Burrows, and Lillard with Holder. It's so absurdly stupid it's offensive. I mean, it comes out of nowhere, it isn't even marginally developed, and serves no constructive purpose for the plot. In fact, it often stops the film dead in its tracks (which doesn't take much).
"Another example of the film's poor writing and shallow character development has to do with the gimmick of how pilots deal with the loss of a comrade. They just say 'they never existed' as a coping mechanism. This is played out with self-conscious, high melodrama. It's ridiculous, and is a lame attempt at giving the characters depth and building resonance, but it's a cheap, paper-thin gimmick that undermines any possible emotional investment in them.
"Overall: while the film is quite an accomplishment for $27 million, it is an exercise in frustration. Fans of the video game who are satisfied with the level of storytelling they get from the CD-ROM's are in for a treat, with lots of solid effects work. Sci-fi/action film fans seeking a satisfying movie experience should probably just get up and leave after the new Star Wars trailer."