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Doug Centers
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 5:58am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

"... "Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome",....."

...

ahh... Taylor, Beneath The Planet of the Apes. Now I have a name for it..
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 6:56am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Many years ago I started thinking of (and referring to) Hollywood "casting with a pocket calculator." This was the "thinking" that led and still leads to people who are utterly inappropriate being cast in various roles. "Hey, Mannie, who's BIG right now?" Sometimes it works -- Robin Williams as Popeye -- and sometimes (more often) it doesn't -- Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.

Point is, it is the bottom line that controls the thinking, and that kind of hard edged practicality is at the root of many cinematic sequel deaths. An actor declines to return, or asks for too much money, or (as with Newt) has outgrown the part. Many times what we then see at work is the utter contempt of the bean counters for the people AND the properties.

In the case of ALIENS3 (which should have been ALIENS2) the story came before any other considerations. "We want to tell THIS story, and we are going to shoehorn the ALIEN(S) franchise into it." ALIENS - RESURRECTION, for all its many, many flaws, at least seemed to take place in the same universe as ALIEN and ALIENS. I could not quite get that out of 3.

(Something similar happened with Riddick. PITCH BLACK is very much in the same sort of reality as ALIEN. But THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK has moved over into DUNE territory. Not at all the same thing.)

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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

In the case of ALIENS3 (which should have been ALIENS2) the story came before any other considerations. "We want to tell THIS story, and we are going to shoehorn the ALIEN(S) franchise into it." ALIENS - RESURRECTION, for all its many, many flaws, at least seemed to take place in the same universe as ALIEN and ALIENS. I could not quite get that out of 3.

***

For give my pedantry but it is actually ALIEN3and ALIEN: RESURRECTION (rather than ALIENS, on both counts), but I agree with the overall point.


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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 7:34am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

As Reed said, RESURRECTION is watchable, and I've done so recently, but I just can't make it 'real' to my mind.

***

Visually, I think it looks great. And the sequence on the ladders where Ron Perlman suddenly drops his legs through the rungs and takes aim at the Aliens is a guilty pleasure of mine.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 9:01am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

ahh... Taylor, Beneath The Planet of the Apes. Now I have a name for it..
++++++++

THAT's the obvious example I was trying to remember when I was composing my post! Thanks!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 10:30am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Remember, Charlton Heston agreed to come back for basically an extended cameo conditional that Taylor died. He did not, in his words, want to become "Andy Hardy".
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 1:43pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I liked ALIEN RESURRECTION quite well, as it gave Sigourney Weaver a chance to play a very different Ripley. It had a sense of humor, for another thing, which the boring ALIEN3 really didn't.

FWIW, I agree with JB's surmise above--ALIEN3 felt like a story David Fincher wanted to tell about a space prison/monastery and a rampaging slasher...which had no connection to Aliens until the studio said "Eh, why not?" Much like HIGHLANDER 2 was not written to be a sequel to HIGHLANDER but something else entirely.

Edited by Andrew Bitner on 16 March 2017 at 1:44pm
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 10 May 2017 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Here's a video of Adam Savage trying on and inspecting the space suits in Alien: Covenant, and interviewing the amazing costume designer Janty Yates (Who has done many Ridley Scott movies, including Prometheus, The Martian and Gladiator).

The better the production values get on these movies (and they seem to get better every single time out), the more I feel bad for the cast and crew when the movie doesn't work so well. It's not like they didn't work their butts off to accomplish what the amazing things they do.

Of course, I don't know if Covenant is going to suck (might be awesome!), but the trailer isn't filling me with confidence.  

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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 7:17am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"Covenant" seems like a soft reboot of the original "Alien movie" to me. Based on the trailer the movie appears to be about a crew of humans landing on a planet, accidentally becoming impregnated and being terrorized by the alien that kills many, but not all humans. I am a bit apprehensive about this one and wonder if we will have betrayal by a synthetic, a strong woman destroying the alien, etc.

One of the things I have always loved about "Aliens" is the fact that with a large population of victims the xenomorphs won't simply kill the opposition, but will capture for hosting purposes. I wonder how much of the previous films have been ignored to construct "Covenant".
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 7:34am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

…I agree with JB's surmise above--ALIEN3 felt like a story David Fincher wanted to tell about a space prison/monastery and a rampaging slasher...which had no connection to Aliens…

••

I call these "shoehorn stories". I'm left with the feeling that the characters have been "shoehorned" into a plot that really has nothing to do with them.

I've seen my own work subjected to this more than once -- a writer picking up something I did and forcing his own agenda into it. Annoying, to say the least.

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 7:34am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Can't be ny. Ore than Prometheus ignored. That ignored every single one, including ALIEN itself
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 7:49am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I would not say PROMETHEUS "ignored" elements so much as it forced in "reveals" that we really didn't need. The Space Jockey -- one of the best alien designs ever -- becoming the boring Dr. Manhattan clone "Engineer", for instance.

This is Ridley Scott joining George Lucas in Retcon Valley.

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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 8:00am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

A special effects artist I know on Facebook had a photo of a shot from Scott's upcoming Bladerunner 2049 that appeared to be pulled directly from a scene written for, but never used in the original Bladerunner movie.The effects artists were remarking how Scott is overtaking Lucas as king of recycling, reusing, retconning.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

But JB, that reveal of the space jockey being a suit wasn't the only problem with that bit. While I hated that bit, what almost made me punch the screen on the plane I was watching the film on, was that he shrunk it to something like 10 feet tall.

He used children in the establishing shot in ALIEN. How on earth did he forget that?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 9:10pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

ALIEN is such a simple story, yet the mystery of it gives it a lot of its power. Shoehorning a bunch of prequels in and spelling everything out does no good.


In all honesty, I think the franchise is played out. Over nearly 40 years, we've had two great films, and then a bunch of fair-to-poor follow-ups. Entertaining to varying degrees, but now they're actively working to dilute and undermine the original. As wth STAR WARS, PLANET OF THE APES, TERMINATOR, and any number of other franchises, it's turning into a topsy game of Retcon Jenga.
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Rick Whiting
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Posted: 11 May 2017 at 9:20pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I call these "shoehorn stories". I'm left with the feeling that the characters have been "shoehorned" into a plot that really has nothing to do with them.

________________________


That's the perfect term I would use to describe the Guardians of the Galaxy films.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 3:39am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Well, it's out in France and someone I work with saw it last night and enjoyed it. But he enjoyed Prometheus so I don't trust his judgement.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 6:05am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I call these "shoehorn stories". I'm left with the feeling that the characters have been "shoehorned" into a plot that really has nothing to do with them.

________________________

That's the perfect term I would use to describe the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

••

There we also have characters being shoehorned into established names.

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 13 May 2017 at 5:31am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

So have people here watched Alien Covenant now that it is in the theaters?

I have not watched the movie myself because it has not been released yet in the Netherlands but I decided to read the synopsis on Wikipedia.
I know, spoiling it all for myself, but after Prometheus I really had my doubts about any sequel to it or prequel to Alien, and from what I read in the synopsis I seem sort of justified.

I am not going to put any spoilers here but personally I am rather disappointed about the storyline of the movie itself but also to some of the changes or retcon to the Alien mythology at large.

I have followed the franchise for some time, watching all the movies including the crossovers with the Predator, and reading a lot of the comics.
Now honestly the comics were never brilliant and I found most of them average tie ins to the franchise than great expansions of it. (I never bothered with the books)

But through all these expanded universe material and interviews with the people who worked on the movies, I like many fans had these sort of speculations on the deeper background on it all.
By no means I would expect that my take or that of a fan group would be taken on as canon. Rather I wish that the mystery had been preserved so that each of us could make up his or her own theories and stories.
Not every mystery needs an explanation, leaving it open is sometimes much better as it excites imagination.

Well we can put an end to that fan theorizing now. And like with Star Wars and other franchises that decided to explain things it has even made a lot of the spin off media more irrelevant than it sometimes already was.

People were talking here about how Star Wars helped the science fiction genre in movies, giving rise to more "mature" stories such as Alien, the Terminator, Predator, Robocop.
All franchises I really enjoyed and when I was younger I just could not get enough off.
But I think it was wise to end these movie franchises before they went into decline, or go even further in decline after some bad sequels.
With comics, books, and games there would always be enough material for fans who like me wanted more.

I much rather wished that these movies would have resulted in even more exciting new science fiction.
Instead Hollywood seems to be cannibalizing itself with all the sequels, prequels, and reboots.
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Gustavo C Cruz
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Posted: 13 May 2017 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Mr. Byrne, have you seen the ship of the movie (well...The covenant)?Yesterday I went to watch it and I had the impression that the designers must have been looking at your job while working on it. (The exterior, couple interior sets and maybe at the moment I was seeing more than there was but even the shuttle!)
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 14 May 2017 at 3:11pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Rick & Morty - Adult Swim Alien Covenant TV Spot
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 2:25pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

There was once a film. It was a good film. Its name was Alien. It had a major impact on horror movies that came after it. Its director, Ridley Scott went on to create another influential film Blade Runner.
There was a sequel Aliens. It moved the story forward and managed to be one of those rare things - a sequel that was as good as its predecessor.
Then there were a couple of mediocre films and the saga began to stagnate and disappoint.
Then there was the film Aliens vs Predator which managed to be a fun romp, even if at the end they forgot they were in a sub zero environment and had the heroine running around in a shirt. But the less said about its sequel Requiem, otherwise known as Aliens in a shopping mall, the better.
And then came Prometheus. The film where Ridley Scott said to all these wannabe sequel makers 'I'll show you how to really screw this up!' Where the one person who got lost out of the expedition group was the cartographer. The map maker. The one person who wouldn't get lost. Where the space jockey was shrunk from the size where children were used to represent adults to show its scale to something that was around 10 feet tall. Where rather than being something truly alien, moulded into the controls of the ship, it became a SUIT! Where a medical equipment specifically stated to be unable to operate on a women, performs a caesarean on a woman who than managers to run for Britain shortly after said operation. Who then decides to trust the homicidal android and leave in a spaceship with it.
Well, we have a new entry in this film saga. I'm in France with nothing to do, so what the heck, I though I'd give it a go.
Thanks Ridley. Thanks a lot. You have managed to remove any mystery around the Alien and turned it into a science experiment. Every new entry into this saga makes it smaller, makes it less mysterious, makes it less Alien. And that it is Ridley Scott who is responsible for this makes it all the more depressing.
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 5:57pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply


Thanks for taking one for the team, James!

I think.



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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 6:10pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Where rather than being something truly alien, moulded into the controls of the ship, it became a SUIT

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't mind that part as it has been suggested by the makers since the first movie that the fossilized being we saw was actually a creature within a biomechanical space suit.
But I wish that the being inside had not be an idealized super human.

But for the rest you got it down pretty right.
Alien has effectively been deconstructed.
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Emery Calame
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 8:27pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Does anybody find a head and hook it up to jumper cables to see if it will come to life, babble, scream and then explode?

Anybody want to pet angry wee-wee doodle snakes?

Any body try to outrun a giant tire instead of cutting right or left?

Any secret cast members just jump out of the closet in the third act?

Any "yo bro, let's ram that thing together!" moments?

Any 5-axis CNC-mill surgery vending machines? 

YOU HAVE SELECTED INTRA-NASAL BIOPSY PROCEDURE 18B, IS THIS CORRECT? PLEASE PUT YOUR FACE INTO THE SHAPED MITER FORM NOW. THE PROCEDURE IS RATED AT 4.2 ON THE PAIN SCALE IS THIS OKAY? SHALL I USE YOUR LAST KNOWN LIVER & BLOOD SERUM PROFILE? Y/N OH DEAR! AN EEL-LIKE PARASITE HAS BURST OUT OF YOUR RIGHT CHEEK SINUS AREA! NEUTRALIZING AND PRESERVING SPECIMEN FOR ANALYSIS BY THE COMPANY. YOU AGREE TO MAINTAIN CONFIDENTIALITY BY REMAINING IN THIS SURGICAL POD AND WILL BE COMPENSATED FOR YOUR CANDOR. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO CLEAN AND CAUTERIZE THAT FOR PENDING FACIO-PLASTIC REPAIR? OH GOOD, LET ME APPLY A STERILE BASIC SOLUTION TO NEUTRALIZE THAT ACID AND WE WILL PROCEED. M.U.T.H.E.R. IS ATTEMPTING EXTERNAL MED-POD OVERRIDE. OVERRIDE FAILED PER EXEMPTING WEYLAND-YUTANI DEVICES FROM AUTO_MANAGERIAL ACTIONS THAT MIGHT COMPROMISE COMPANY VALUE EXPOSURE TO LIABILITY PROCEEDINGS BY SURVIVORS. EUTHANASIA MODE DISABLED. M.U.T.H.E.R. LOCKED OUT PER FREIGHT HANDLING BRANCH BEING LESS PROFITABLE THAN MEDICAL BRANCH AND BIOWEAPON PROCUREMENT HAVING NO OFFICIAL STATUS IN THE COMPANY PENDING "DR POOL" PROTOCOLS. PRESS AND HOLD DOPE KEY FOR EXTRA PAIN MANAGEMENT AGENT APPLICATION. 
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