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Legend of the Rangers Thread...2009 edition

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  • #61
    I re-watched the first 20 mins of Rangers a few days ago and had to turn it off.

    Out of curiosity, I did a bit of hunting around the net to see if JMS had every expressed any regret around releasing such sub par material into the B5 universe.

    Conversely, I found this (from the old newsgroups here):

    Originally posted by JMS
    "I think it may be one of the best things B5 we've ever done. WB had NO NOTES on the thing. SFC had ONE note, to make one word (entil'zha) a bit louder because it's kind of a plot point. Both places referred to it as stunning and beautiful and maybe our best work to date".
    Anyway, I completely understand that JMS was doing his best to promote a new B5 product and get it to series, but REALLY?

    'One of the best thigns B5 we’ve ever done'. Good god, had the man contracted the brain worms?!?
    Last edited by Ubik; 09-02-2014, 09:12 AM.
    Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

    Kosh: Good!

    Comment


    • #62
      Hard to respond when you gave no input on what you disliked. I loved the chemistry between the characters. Why did you have to turn it off?

      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by Ubik View Post
        Anyway, I completely understand that JMS was doing his best to promote a new B5 product and get it to series, but REALLY?

        'One of the best thigns B5 we’ve ever done'. Good god, had the man contracted the brain worms?!?
        With Legend of The Rangers, people like John Copeland, Ron Thornton, George Johnsen and many others who helped make B5 what it was, just weren’t there. Watching LoTR I keep seeing things that I know would have been caught, changed or thrown out by many of the behind the scenes team….. and I’m talking script and concept not just the VFX hicups.

        But instead of Copleland and the gang, you had a pile of people working on the project that not only didn’t have any kind of investment in it, but many hadn’t even heard of B5 before starting work on it…….. and it showed on multiple levels!

        jms and Mike Vejar where there of course, but I’m guessing you’ve read the interview with Chris Wren over on the scrolls, so get a hint of how others were approaching it as just another job to get out the door.

        You might not fully appreciate this, but Alec McClymont played a huge part in making the Lost Tales less of a disaster because he was a fan of the original so took a lot of decisions to get things right with the FX and designs – and more importantly, as a fan, put in the extra hours into producing it…. much like the original team….. and that’s the thing, television production is undeniably a team game. It’s visual story telling involving an army of different specialist artists and technicians with jms (as the writer) being just one of them (albeit probably the most important one). LoTR and LT is not a case of jms having ran out of ideas, as I’ve seen some suggest, you just can’t cut the head off a production, transplant it and expect the same results.
        Last edited by Triple F; 09-02-2014, 11:47 AM.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Triple F View Post
          With Legend of The Rangers, people like John Copeland, Ron Thornton, George Johnsen and many others who helped make B5 what it was, just weren’t there. Watching LoTR I keep seeing things that I know would have been caught, changed or thrown out by many of the behind the scenes team….. and I’m talking script and concept not just the VFX hicups.

          But instead of Copleland and the gang, you had a pile of people working on the project that not only didn’t have any kind of investment in it, but many hadn’t even heard of B5 before starting work on it…….. and it showed on multiple levels!

          jms and Mike Vejar where there of course, but I’m guessing you’ve read the interview with Chris Wren over on the scrolls, so get a hint of how others were approaching it as just another job to get out the door.

          You might not fully appreciate this, but Alec McClymont played a huge part in making the Lost Tales less of a disaster because he was a fan of the original so took a lot of decisions to get things right with the FX and designs – and more importantly, as a fan, put in the extra hours into producing it…. much like the original team….. and that’s the thing, television production is undeniably a team game. It’s visual story telling involving an army of different specialist artists and technicians with jms (as the writer) being just one of them (albeit probably the most important one). LoTR and LT is not a case of jms having ran out of ideas, as I’ve seen some suggest, you just can’t cut the head off a production, transplant it and expect the same results.
          Very good point. I hadn't looked at it quite like that. With a few nudges in different directions, it probably could have been a lot better. The casting definitely needed an overhaul.
          Last edited by Ubik; 09-02-2014, 12:13 PM.
          Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

          Kosh: Good!

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by Jan View Post
            Hard to respond when you gave no input on what you disliked. I loved the chemistry between the characters. Why did you have to turn it off?

            Jan
            Rangers is a hard one to like. I've seen it maybe two times. I tried for a re-watch to see if it still grated as badly as it did the first two times. It did.

            There are a few good ideas in there and it definitely had potential to go somewhere, BUT:

            -The acting was mostly awful. 90% of the cast needed to go back to acting school. It's all horribly flat and rarely have I seen a lead character with less charisma than Martel.

            -The Rangers have somehow become idiots. "Rangers do not retreat from battle", hmmm yes. So, this well trained, intelligent reconnaissance force has suddenly decided to abandon logic. It just doesn't wash.

            -As Triple F pointed out, the FX inconsistencies are a real shame.

            -"We live for the one, we die for the..." Stop, stop. For the love of god! I heard you the first time.

            -The Hand... I would have loved a foe that weren't yet another ancient super powerful race, one EVEN OLDER and EVEN MORE SCARY than the Shadows!!! It was hackneyed. Perhaps it was meant to be? Perhaps we were meant to suspect a fascade or double bluff of some sort? Sure, it could have panned out to be something more interesting in the long run, but all we have to go on is this pilot film. So, I have to judge it as a stand alone entity.

            -The gun pod. I know, it's like flogging a dead horse! I know it was different in the script, but that's not an excuse. I still fail to understand how that whole sequence wasn't left on the cutting room floor. Someone should have demanded a reshoot of that scene. Or, at the very least, had the good taste to keep the space battle CGI, but removed the kicking, screaming floating woman. They could have just cut to scenes of people looking occupied at consoles instead.

            That scene has become the laughing stock of SF space battles. I feel sorry for the actress that played the role, because that must have done more harm than good to her career!
            Last edited by Ubik; 09-02-2014, 12:19 PM.
            Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

            Kosh: Good!

            Comment


            • #66
              Sad to admit I have never watched it the whole way thorugh, I will try again but the last time I did try I hit the gun pod scene and just... stopped. I found it incredibly difficult to get past, even knowing there was (probably) more Andreas coild not let me move past it. I will try again and let ye know what I think.
              Phaze
              on the "Watching utopia just prior to bed is very very bad idea, too disturbing by far" ID
              "There are no good wars. War is always the worst possible way to resolve differences. It degenerates and corrupts both sides to ever more sordid levels of existence, in their need to gain an advantage over the enemy. Those actively involved in combat are almost always damaged goods for the rest of their lives. If their bodies don't bear scars, their minds do, ofttimes both. Many have said it before, but it can't be said to enough, war is hell. "

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              • #67
                I haven't watched it since around the time it was originally released, but I do recall much of what is being said. I will be watching it again in the near future and I'll try to remember to report back then. I mean it has been more than ten years; I'm practically a different person so there is no telling what I'll think.
                Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                • #68
                  It's flawed, but I still enjoy it!

                  When Legend of the Rangers was released, I remember hoping that if it went to series, we might (through the characters) get to learn more about Valen's teachings. It could've been to B5 what the Jedi Code is to Star Wars fans.

                  Talking of Star Wars, I thought that the Liandra really stood a chance of becoming a beloved vehicle-as-character, just like the Millennium Falcon. The Excalibur, representing the very height of technology, and comprised of clean, straight lines and pristine, beautiful curves, was akin to Star Trek's 1979 USS Enterprise, a design I really love. The Millennium Falcon from Star Wars was the exact opposite, which somehow gave it a certain "street-cred" shared by car modifiers comparing their beloved hot-rods, resulting in yet another starship design I really love, albeit for opposite reasons this time. Plus the Liandra looked old and lived-in, like an aged ancestor to the White Stars of the Ranger fleet. I felt that the Liandra fell into that kind of Millennium Falcon category, and I was hoping to see it become as beloved as any of the organic characters of the B5 universe. Plus, it was haunted! What a way to intrigue the audience! But sadly it wasn't to be, and no series materialised. A pity; I was hoping to see the Liandra and Excaliber meet, as JMS had intended.

                  Hmmm, fingers-crossed for the new film! "Until Valen's eventual return..., Entil'Zha veni!"

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                    -The Rangers have somehow become idiots. "Rangers do not retreat from battle", hmmm yes. So, this well trained, intelligent reconnaissance force has suddenly decided to abandon logic. It just doesn't wash.
                    Yes, there seems to be something wrong, starting from the Ranger Council, doesn't there? Wonder if it might have become a plot point down the line? Hmmm....

                    -"We live for the one, we die for the..." Stop, stop. For the love of god! I heard you the first time.
                    I'll grant you that the repetition was overdone.

                    -The Hand... I would have loved a foe that weren't yet another ancient super powerful race, one EVEN OLDER and EVEN MORE SCARY than the Shadows!!! It was hackneyed. Perhaps it was meant to be? Perhaps we were meant to suspect a fascade or double bluff of some sort? Sure, it could have panned out to be something more interesting in the long run, but all we have to go on is this pilot film. So, I have to judge it as a stand alone entity.
                    What makes you think that the Hand was actually "another ancient super powerful race, one EVEN OLDER and EVEN MORE SCARY than the Shadows"? You mean you expected the spokesalien, a member of a subjugated race to say anything different? "Yeah...y'know, the Hand...they're not so tough. We just let them win." You mean like that?

                    -The gun pod. I know, it's like flogging a dead horse! I know it was different in the script, but that's not an excuse. I still fail to understand how that whole sequence wasn't left on the cutting room floor. Someone should have demanded a reshoot of that scene. Or, at the very least, had the good taste to keep the space battle CGI, but removed the kicking, screaming floating woman. They could have just cut to scenes of people looking occupied at consoles instead.
                    Get over it or fast forward. You, too, Phaze. There - all fixed. Honestly, this is one that I just don't understand people getting so completely hung up over. It's like Byron's hair. For some unknown reason huge numbers of fans seemed to think that just because the teep colony was poor they couldn't afford soap and water and basic grooming supplies. It has *nothing*, repeat *Nothing* to do with the quality of the story. Deal.

                    That scene has become the laughing stock of SF space battles. I feel sorry for the actress that played the role, because that must have done more harm than good to her career!
                    You think so? How could it? If she didn't put it on her demo reel, it's vanishingly unlikely that any casting person would ever see it. So how could any harm be done to her career?

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      I love that a thread can be resurrected after five years

                      If you look back at what I said previously on this thread, my thoughts still stand, though I would likely be far more tactful in my delivery.

                      One thing that I will add is that you can tell Andreas Katsulas is having a great time playing G'kar for what would be the last time. That alone makes this a must watch.
                      http://www.andrewcardinale.com
                      @acardi

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Jan View Post

                        Get over it or fast forward. You, too, Phaze. There - all fixed. Honestly, this is one that I just don't understand people getting so completely hung up over. It's like Byron's hair. For some unknown reason huge numbers of fans seemed to think that just because the teep colony was poor they couldn't afford soap and water and basic grooming supplies. It has *nothing*, repeat *Nothing* to do with the quality of the story. Deal.

                        Jan
                        It's with good reason that people get hung up on this scene in particular; it's because it's just shockingly bad. I shouldn't have to fast forward a scene to make a film bearable. It IS part of the story. It's part of the narrative we've watching, and of course it has an effect on the quality of the story. Film is a visual medium, and it's the medium used to convey this particular story. We can't just expunge or gloss over a scene for the sake of convenience and good taste. Another problem is that the scene breaks my suspension of disbelief. It's not believable, and it flies in the face of all the realistic physics and scientifically sound future technology that B5 pioneered. Not to mention that space combat has suddenly become synonymous with an actress having some kind of uncrontrollable fit whilst suspended in space. I know it differed in the script, but someone should have caught this before the final cut. If not a producer, then Joe himself.

                        I know full well this one is brought up too often, and I already admitted to flogging a long dead horse in my original post... but you did ask what my issues with the film were, and this is one of them. I always thought the 'Byron's hair' thing was a light hearted running joke amongst fans, not something that detracted from the quality of the season. I'd taken Byron's hair over 'kicking punching gun pod' any day of the week!

                        As for the other plot points that I raised... Absolutely, they may have played out differently had Rangers gone to series. JMS is smarter than that. But here's the thing, we can infer all we like, but I can only judge Rangers as a stand alone entity, as that’s all we got. On that level, it just fails completely for me. As you say, there may have been far more to The Hand than we first suspect. Things may not be as they appear to be. All that said, it just didn’t interest me. A full series may have changed that. It's hard to say. S1 of B5 gains so much depth because of what followed. I can only judge Rangers on its merits as a one off film.

                        I mean The Gathering isn’t perfect either, but it does hold my attention in ways that Rangers doesn’t. It works as a stand alone, and tells a story I care about, even gets me caring about the characters. I can’t say the same about Rangers.

                        As a B5 fan, I REALLY wanted to like Rangers, but it doesn’t give me much to work with. If it was just one scene that I fervently disliked (i.e. the gun pod), I could get over it and appreciate the rest for what it is, but the film as a whole is just consistently bad. The plot doesn't engage me, the characters feel like cardboard cut outs, the cast are largely awful. Even G'Kar is reduced to a walking fortune cookie who serves no real purpose other than to provide a link back to the original B5, which this is a very pale shadow of. Sorry, I just can't get behind it in any way shape or form. It not just one specific thing, it’s the quality of the film as a whole.

                        This is what bugs me - JMS is responsible for some of the best SF on TV. We know he's capable of great things, but I feel something went seriously wrong with Rangers. I'm still kinda surprised JMS hasn't acknowledged it as a misstep, or talked about the lessons learnt from it. He’s talked about Crusade in this way, admitting that he shouldn’t have been tempted to spin off B5 simply because he’d gotten comfortable with the universe and secretly feared moving on to other things.

                        Actually, along those lines, does anyone have any content that relates to him discussing Rangers in any depth? Ideally a few years after the fact. Or anything around how he feels about it some years on? I just wonder how he perceives it now, with some distance and perspective. I know that before re-launching Joe’s Comics with Studio JMS/Image JMS read all the criticism he could find, especially the negative stuff around his prior output. I wonder if he’s ever done the same with his film / TV work, because a good chunk of the critcism / fan reaction around Rangers is very negative.

                        Now, If he wasn't having to talk it up with the hopes of getting a new series (as quoted above), I wonder what his evaluation would be? This train of thought was the driving force behind my original post, I didn't really want to get into too much depth around my own dislike of the film. I just wondered if JMS genuinely believed, or still believed, it was 'One of the best things B5 we’ve ever done'.

                        I have no doubt that he would have made something good of a series had that occurred. But, Rangers as it stands seems like a bad way to convince people to follow you there.
                        Last edited by Ubik; 09-03-2014, 04:39 AM.
                        Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                        Kosh: Good!

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Looney View Post
                          I haven't watched it since around the time it was originally released, but I do recall much of what is being said. I will be watching it again in the near future and I'll try to remember to report back then. I mean it has been more than ten years; I'm practically a different person so there is no telling what I'll think.
                          Give it a go, I'd be intrigued to hear your opinion. As I said, I didn’t make it through my re-watch, couldn’t muster the enthusiasm or mental fortitude to sit through it again.
                          Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                          Kosh: Good!

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                          • #73
                            One part from the TV Movies script book that's relevant to the conversation:

                            Q: A common complaint about The Legend of the Rangers is that the Rangers were too willing to die rather than finding a less lethal way of defeating their opponents. In retrospect, is this a plot element that you would have changed or was it essential to the story?

                            JMS: I kind of wanted them young and impetuous and idealistic, the “die with
                            honor” solution being their first resort rather than what it should be, their last
                            resort. They would’ve learned to temper that in time, especially after one of them
                            died defending the rest in ways that could have been avoided.
                            Also, when asked about the arc if it had gone to series:

                            JMS: I wanted to put them in an arc where the beliefs instilled in them would be tested both from without and from within, as they found that some of those at the very top were not hewing to the same high standards. They would get caught up in Minbari politics and a still simmering division leftover from the B5 storyline that would force them to choose between convenience and spying on their own organization to root out some serious infiltration.
                            Jan
                            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Cheers Jan. All very interesting and relevant (as always).

                              I still struggle to buy into the newly acquired 'never retreat' creedos, but if the Ranger heirarcy is corrupt and broken, then maaaybe. But, i'm still uncomfortable with that leap of logic. I wish more had been made of it initially, some reason to explain why they would instigate such an extreme policy. It would make more sense in a time of war, somewhat like the Japanses using Kamikaze pilots.

                              I understand that The Hand are bluffing and would have been revealed to be all smoke and mirrors. However, I would have loved to seen a different kind of threat, even if this one would have turned out to be something else.

                              The internal strife within the Minbari government and the Rangers sounds cool, perhaps in league with The Hand (maybe a breakaway part of the Warrior Cast!?!).

                              Rangers would have likely been a better show than this pilot film suggests. I still don't like the film, and feel many things could have been handled better. As with most things JMS, I'd have given the series a shot.
                              Last edited by Ubik; 09-03-2014, 05:48 AM.
                              Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                              Kosh: Good!

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                I liked the gun pod scene.

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