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Thread: Sci-fi movies that aren't. Or weren't.

  1. #1
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    Sci-fi movies that aren't. Or weren't.

    So I've been thinking a lot lately about the lack of really good sci-fi movies lately. By "good" I mean accurate, scientifically, and having a non-lame story to tell. I won't get into rating movies over the years but I think all sci-fi movies should aim for a realism near that of 2001.

    There have been many epic failures in that particular category.

    But on the the point. There are a great many fantastic sci-fi novels out there but very very few of them ever get to be movies. What would YOU like to see on film and who would you like to see direct/helm the project? You can pick directors who are no longer with us as well. I'll start with a few of my favorites:

    Ringworld: James Cameron - Let's face it... (and I'll spark a flame war here but...) Peter Jackson is a highly detailed hack. I think Cameron is the only modern director that could handle the details in this one and keep the world large enough (and integrate the CGI correctly).

    Ender's Game: Stanley Kubrick - I don't think anyone could make this movie accurately but Kubrick would have had the best shot at it. Everyone else is going to cheese-out on many of the vital points it makes.

    We: David Lynch - Not his usual fare but his talents lie in atmosphere and as the prototype for dystopian futures, We will require a thick and depressing atmosphere in order to really work and not be considered an Ćon Flux style crapfest.

    Add to the list!

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    I don't think Ringworld would make a good film. Maybe a good mini-series, though. In fact it might be a good idea to do an animated series of all the Known Space stories with Ringworld as the end-of-series climax.
    Ender's Game has been in development hell for a long, long time. It seems likely that it will eventually be made into a film, but it won't be by Kubrick (obviously).
    I've never actually read We, so no comment.
    Foundation is another novel that would make a good mini-series rather than a single film. And they should probably stop at the end of the original trilogy. Patrick Stewart could play Hari Seldon, with Adrien Brody as Magnifico.

    James Cameron hasn't made a film since Titanic. He might not be interested in doing films anymore.

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    Cameron has two films currently in production. The are 3-d shot on some kind of new platform that is supposed to be really neat.

    I think you are right about the mini-series thing. Some things can't be done in just a few hours. And a few things deserve the time it takes. This was my big complaint about LoTR trilogy. Well - one of them. The thing that irked me perhaps the most was Faramir. He was in the book for a reason. And that reason was completely... defecated upon.. by what they did to him in the movies. I could go on.

    Ender's Game was at one point going to be directed by Wolfgang Petersen. I think he jumped off the project now and the script is in re-work (by Card). Petersen has shot several amazing films but as of late everything he's made has been crap. I mean just plain simple crap. So i'm glad he isn't at the helm anymore on that one.

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    I was unhappy with Faramir in the theatrical release but much more pleased with the extended version on DVD. Yes he's a different character from the books, but I feel he still fulfills the purpose of showing that some men who aren't full-fledged Numenorians like Aragorn can still resist the Ring.
    Denethor is in fact the movie character I am most disastisfied with in LOTR.

    Stephen R. Donaldson's "Gap" series would make a good space opera movie series.
    Honor Harrington probably works best as a book series, though.

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    I always thought a talented scriptwriter could mesh a lot of Heinlein's novels set in Luna into a single, albeit long film. It would certainly have enough action to pique audience interest, and the way Heinlein weaves his characters throughout his novels, it would an interesting series of slices of Luna history. The rememberances would best be done as flashbacks, while "current" events from each novel would occupy that timeline, until the movie jumped to a different era.

    The question is - how to tie the era's together? Common characters (though older) wouldn't be enough. It would have to be something more...

    Perhaps this could be made into a series to rival Star Wars!

    But what to call it?

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    To me, a good science fiction movie doesn't need good science. However, if you do you use 'bad' science, look at the logical extrapolation of such a technology. Instead of simply saying 'we have starships', look at the effect of having a relatively cheap way of crossing interstellar distances. The effect on searches for criminals, for religions and people who just want to be 'left alone' You have replicators? How would that change the society? Would energy become the new main commodity, now that nearly any material could be made as needed? How would it affect precious materials markets? And also, tell a good story while you are at it. How does this affect the characters? Say one character was the son of an asteroid mining baron, with no ties to the energy industry. With the introduction of replicators, his families fortune is wiped out. Ok that’s corny, but at least its think of consequences for both the world and the people in it. That is the trouble with many hard science fiction I have read. It creates a vivid plausible world, but forgets about the people who 'live' there. It isn't a story anymore. And that is a greater crime then Greys and blasters and hyperspace.

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    I suspect one reason many novels haven't been done is that many of them aren't necessarily cinematic. Best left on the page and in your head.

    With that out of the way, I'd like to see Guillermo Del Toro take a crack at The Stars My Destination.

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    "Instead of simply saying 'we have starships', look at the effect of having a relatively cheap way of crossing interstellar distances."

    Ditto--I love SF that explores in depth the broader implications of the technology they introduce.

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    The Mote in Gods' Eye.

    Heck - by anyone (even jackson).
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.
    Why is a frog too?

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    The Mote in God's Eye is a great novel, but again I doubt if it can be made into a great film.

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    I rescently got my paws on a compilation of some of Asimovs last work. One story that, while seeming rather mastribational, was rather fascinating, was about someone making a 'film' about the trisexual beings from 'The Gods Themselves'. It`s economics seemed rather skewed, but on the whole it was interesting as it described the struggle of converting words into images and sound. Of course, since it used words itself, it had a lot of leeway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    I rescently got my paws on a compilation of some of Asimovs last work. One story that, while seeming rather mastribational, was rather fascinating, was about someone making a 'film' about the trisexual beings from 'The Gods Themselves'. It`s economics seemed rather skewed, but on the whole it was interesting as it described the struggle of converting words into images and sound. Of course, since it used words itself, it had a lot of leeway.
    "Gold." It won the Hugo for best novelette in 1992. Wikipedia notes that "'Gold' may be taken as a response to criticisms of Asimov's non-visual writing style."
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    i thought that 2001 was a boring film- i liked it, but i could barely sit thru it.
    it needed some explosions and fighters making banking turns in space..

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    Quote Originally Posted by novaderrik View Post
    i thought that 2001 was a boring film- i liked it, but i could barely sit thru it.
    it needed some explosions and fighters making banking turns in space..
    My favourite sci-fi movie.
    Not for all tastes - you either love it or hate it.

    Okay, my pick:
    Stranger in a Strange Land.
    I need a director not that big on special effects but had a great writer to work with.
    Perhaps M. Night Shyamalan, in that it would be low key, subtle and not too loud.
    However, maybe Rob Reiner would do it justice.
    I haven't read the book in thirty years though...

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    How about War of The Worlds? For once, I would actually like to see a steam powered ship blast a walker out of the water.

    Solfe

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    Anne McCaffery's "Dragonrider" novels would make a miniseries or several movies if the first one was successful. Just think, a movie with strong female characters.

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    Here's a trailer for one film I'd like to see;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrLo1qUkCH8
    somehow, the whole of that novel seems to me to be arranged cinematically, like a series of scenes that build one after the other, getting more and more incredible. at least until the appearance of Olmy and his 'friend'...

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    Cold as Ice by Charles Sheffield would make a decent movie. It's fairly "cinematic" already.

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    C. J. Cherryh's Chanur saga would make an excellent miniseries. Likewise Cyteen, Downbelow Station, or any of her other Sci-Fi novels, come to think of it.

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    I'm still waiting for David Fincher's version of "Rendezous with Rama"....

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    Does anyone think "Elric of Melnibone" would make a good movie? Of course, that's fantasy, not SF.

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    I really think that someone could make a decent movie out of Starship Troopers by Heinlein.

    Footfall could work well as a film, you'd have to do some tweaking due the loss of two shuttles (Maybe have them using the Burans that are now museum pieces?), but little of the story would need to be changed, I think. Be nice if they could do it soon, since Pournelle has brain cancer and may not be with us much longer.

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