Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cool "Forbidden Planet" news... maybe?

One of my favorite movies of all time, let alone favorite sci-fi movie, is Forbidden Planet. Starring Leslie Nielsen, Ann Francis, and Walter Pigeon, this movie came out just a year after I did. If you're a SF fan at all, you know that it is as if Forbidden Planet (FP) came out, then almost nothing very good was made until Star Wars. Special effects went from FP levels, back to black and white and visible wires... and then boom, imagination kicked back in.

FP was a wonderful mixture of suspense, humor, reflection, eye-candy, and suggestions left to the imagination. I still remember marveling at it as a kid; I still love it as an adult, and love showing it to my kids.

So it was with mixed feelings that I've read off and on of re-makes. A new FP could be really good, or really bad.

So I was happy to learn that the screenwriter for the new version is to be J. Michael Straczynski. SF hardcores will recognize JMS as the creative genius behind Babylon 5. SF fans are divided among (1) those who recognize B5 as the best SF series ever on TV to that time, and (2) those who are wrong. Though an atheist (and not a very nice one to talk to — I tried), JMS recognized the essential role of religion, and treated it with remarkable respect and a degree of wistful understanding. In this way, Straczynski was very distinct from Roddenberry's vision, in which religion had vanished.

All of that bringing us to this update on the progress of the script.
"It’s not a remake. It’s not a reimagining. It’s not exactly a prequel. You’ll have to see it. It’s something that no one has thought of when it comes to this storyline" says Straczynski who told producer Joel Silver "this is how you do ‘Forbidden Planet’ without [messing with] the original that no one has ever thought of. When I told [the idea] to him, his eyes lit up."

Cutting edge effects were used at the time of the original film's creation, and the plan is to do the
same here. "People that went to see that film saw things they had never seen before. What we have to do now is have this one be as innovative now as the original was then" says Straczynski.

The scribe has also been in contact with "the nation’s best minds in astrophysics and planetary geology and A.I." to create the technology of the Krell backstory, asking them "What will a million years from now look like? The goal is to put things in there you’ve never seen before."
What JMS did with B5 was fresh and imaginative. But then there were some followup movies and products that have all been disappointing. So one hopes he'll be able to tap into the same well that made B5 so fresh and creative.

20 comments:

P.D. Nelson said...

I'm sure you are aware that Forbidden Planet is nothing more than The Tempest done up in space opera. Not to say tjat doesn't make it enjoyable. I'm a big The Day the Earth Stood Still fan myself and I'm rather disturbed by the remake they have done to it.

Mesa Mike said...

I dunno where you guys are coming from.

Plan 9 From Outer Space was unequivocally the best SF movie ever produced.

James Kubecki said...

1. Um, 2001? Hello? Love it or hate the story, the effects were outstanding and fall between FP and SW. (I could also throw in Silent Running, but that's also Doug Trumbull so we'll just count it as an extension of 2001 FX-wise.)

2. JMS would be a good choice. If you remember, he paid homage to FP in B5 when Sinclair and Ivanova went down to the planet the station was orbiting and found the Great Machine. It's been too long since I've watched the show, however, and so cannot remember the name of the planet or the name of the guy guarding the machine. I'll hang my geeky head in shame now.

3. The "captcha" word that Blogger gave me for this comment is "pyropr." Funny.

DJP said...

1. 2001 was boring, boring, boring, and so were the FX. "Silent Running" was much more fun, but still not much on FX, if that's what you're talking about. Neither had the fun, engaging, multi-layered story.

2. Epsilon 5. Zathras ("No one listen to ____").

3. Now, that is funny.

DJP said...

MMike - "This man is dead — murdered! And someone is responsible!"

trogdor said...

I suppose now would be as good a time as any to mention this. My wife gave me my Christmas present today. Babylon 5. The whole series. So far I'm into the second disk of season 1, the only question is how long it takes to get through the whole thing.

The Great Machine is on Epsilon 3.

James Kubecki said...

1. The FX in 2001 were boring? Sha.

2. Zathras was the helper, not the main guy. (Still cool, though. "Not the one! Not the one...") Hang on, lemme check the Lurker's Guide, if it's still up... OK, it was actually Epsilon 3, and the guy's name was Varn. He was replaced by Draal, Delenn's old mentor.

3. This time it's "smzpbx" which is not at all funny.

BTW - did you know seasons 1 & 2 of B5 are on hulu.com, and season 3 is on thewb.com?

DJP said...

Well, you said "guarding" the machine... is that how Draal's task is described? I more think of him as running it than guarding it; Zathras (or, properly, the Zathrases) serve it.

And 3, 5, whatever.

Trogdor — what a great wife! I have all five seasons, have been through several times. How long it takes is up to you!

I predict that, once you get to seasons 3 and 4 in particular, your sleep will suffer.

Tim said...

My wife and I were following the B5 series when she was pregnant with our son. One episode was on when we were in the labor room at the hospital, and the heartless, cruel staff decided to break her water RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EPISODE.

I almost didn't follow them to the delivery room. Almost.

CR said...

hmmm...well, I guess I should think about getting Babylon 5 on my blockbuster online. I don't know why, but I never got around to watching that, but I've heard from a couple of people that it's a great series and I'm reading now from a couple of you it's worth watching. So, guess I'll add that series to my queue.

DJP said...

Tim - lol

A difficult decision, but I think you chose wisely.

JackW said...

I have to agree with 2001 and Silent Running as the milestones. Of course if you have a short attention span ... ;{)

DJP said...

Yes, I suppose I am weak in that way, because I do like something interesting to happen every... oh, I don't know... FOURTEEN HOURS or so.

Fred Butler said...

I saw "Forbidden Planet" and thought it was the the freaky cartoon about the giant blue aliens who had enslaved humanity and one guy raises a rebellion to throw off the yoke of their blue alien overlords. But then I realized that was "Fantastic Planet." I would like to see a live action of that one.

jmb said...

"This man is dead — murdered! And someone is responsible!"

We also mustn't forget the alien leader's hissy fit: "You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!"

BTW, Ed Wood's "Glen or Glenda" makes his "Plan 9" look like a masterpiece.

Jon said...

I have both Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still on my Netflix streaming queue. Now I just need time to watch them.

I was wondering how many of you have seen the new trailer for the upcoming Star Trek movie by JJ Abrams? Trailers usually have more excitement than the actual movies, but still... this trailer makes me want to see this. Plus, Star Trek usually has lots of cool little atheistic tidbits we can all chuckle at and demolish post viewing.

Check out the trailers over at Apple's page:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/startrek/

DJP said...

Yep, it's a cool trailer, no doubt. I'm glad JJ Abrams is involved. He may breathe some life back into the franchise.

Jugulum said...

Woah, excellent!

I was going to make an ironic observation about how Forbidden Planet is based on The Tempest, and you posted a picture of G'Kar. Because I thought G'Kar had some specific relationship to Shakespeare. But... Google doesn't seem to say so.

DJP said...

If Andreas Katsulas (G'kar) had played Shakespeare, I'd have watched.

Actors complain about having to act from under layers of makeup or costumes. Didn't slow Katsulas up one tiny bit. Amazing actor.

Jugulum said...

Yes. I think I assumed the connection because he just feels shakespearean.