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1/28/2020 2:46:13 PM by disqus_YE32b5YORb
1/27/2020 4:11:52 PM by AuthorTPaul

This will be the last of my reviews of old Disney films for a while.  Black Hole, Tron, and this film, Flight of the Navigator, were, I suspect, an experiment that failed miserably.

Of the three films mentioned, FotN had the best effects but still managed to forget to include a compelling story.  I guess we weren't supposed to notice that with all the shiny new CGA in the film.  A kid going on a joy ride in an Area 51 alien vehicle is not a plot, but hey!  Look at those ray-trace graphics!

I actually didn't hate this movie.  They really did do a great job on the graphics.  But, and this is key, Disney didn't leave themselves anything to make a sequel from.  There was also no easy avenue for merchandising.  A lot of years went by before Disney ...

1/27/2020 3:51:40 PM by disqus_YE32b5YORb
1/26/2020 7:20:32 PM by AuthorTPaul

No, I am not singling out Disney for bad SF films.  I'll get back to Michael Crichton eventually.  Disney released three major Science Fiction films in the late 70s and early 80s.  Three live-action films I should say.  They were trying to break away from their animated film origins.  Computers were taking over the SF film industry.  George Lucas and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) had taken the world by storm with their space opera, Star Wars.  Black Hole wasn't the success they thought it would be.

So they made this.

What were they thinking?!

They cast an edgy young actor from an acting dynasty to play the lead.  That might have been the last good decision they made for this film.


1/26/2020 5:50:45 PM by disqus_YE32b5YORb



1/25/2020 3:53:39 PM by AuthorTPaul

Imagine a world...  Where CGI and CGA were new, expensive, and took months or years to complete a film.  Then imagine a studio known for its animated films and comedies that wanted to break into the serious film world.  Add in the fact that 'Star Wars' had fundamentally changed how Hollywood perceived both SF films and its fans.  This was the recipe that produced 'The Black Hole'.

'The Black Hole' was, in a word, lacking.  It had all the elements needed for a good story except... a good story.  It was as if the plot was considered an afterthought by the producer.  Add to that the most sympathetic AND the scariest characters were robots and you ended up with this mess.

I'm ...

1/25/2020 3:32:39 PM by disqus_YE32b5YORb
1/24/2020 4:51:18 PM by AuthorTPaul

There's a region between unintended consequences and unforeseeable consequences.  Andromeda Strain is a cinematic Venn diagram of the intersection of those two sets.

IMO, Michael Crichton stole the premise to 'Andromeda Strain' (1969) from Harry Harrison and his years earlier 'The Jupiter Plague' (1965).  No!  It couldn't be!  Not the man whose fertile brain gave us 'Jurassic Park'?!  Actually, JP was also suspiciously similar work published in a pulp SF magazine... You know what?  Let's skip it.  While obviously derivative, Andromeda Strain had a verisimilitude that 'Jupiter Plague' did not.  Harrison will be remembered as Grand Master of SF while Crichton will be remembered for 'Congo'.  No?  How about 'Sphere'?  'Timeline'?  Sorry, Mike.

1/24/2020 3:26:15 PM by disqus_YE32b5YORb



1/23/2020 5:16:30 PM by AuthorTPaul

Plenty.  If that name happens to be George Pal and this happens to be a Science Fiction fansite.

I am absolutely certain there are many, many more I've missed.  Let's just focus on these four.  They seem to pop up a lot.

The Time Machine.  There's only so much you can do with stop motion animation and a few incandescent Christmas lights.  George Pal did it all.

War of the Worlds.  Kind of gutsy to put this out during the Cold War.  Especially when the Martians basically kick our rear ends.

Destination Moon.  A decade or two before we landed a man on the Moon, George Pal did it on the big screen.  Kind of makes 2001 seem a ...