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Babylon 5 Movie through Studio JMS

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  • Originally posted by Jan View Post
    As for John Carter, they left of the 'of Mars' part deliberately and marketed it badly-also deliberately according to some reports. If the movie had been marketed to Burroughs fans it might well have done much better. As it was, I was so sick of the great white ape and that damned arena scene even I didn't want to see the movie by the time it came out.
    Years back, like a lot of folks, I closely followed the development of a couple of films I was looking forward to. Quickly got out that habit. It was horrible – between endless speculaton, pet theories, rumours and complaints on every subject imaginable from wannabe pundits, and of course real spoilers over a long period - it just sucked everything from the movie. No surprises, no sense of discovery while watching . . . . . Noooo, will never do that again. . . . .

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    • I do not agree with the premise that season one is different from the rest of the show. It's pretty consistent IMO.

      Originally posted by Triple F View Post
      Season one was so different most likely because – as I understand it - jms was basically following his original idea. Things changed after he was told by Warner (via Doug Netter) to “lose the stiff” . . . and that wasn’t aimed at Michael O’Hare, but the character of Sinclair. Warner wanted the action racked up and a more well known name in the lead. That might explain why jms was so defensive when folks thought Michael’s acting was the issue . . I dunno. Anyway.
      WB wanted Sinclair out after the *pilot*, and they (Doug and Joe) fought back and kept the character. Joe was defensive because when Michael did leave it was for medical issues and everyone and their brother had a pet conspiracy theory of why it really happened. Bruce is someone Doug knew from previous work and they gave him the job in season two without audition, which happened to fulfill WB's push for a more well-known lead but wasn't the reason for the Sinclair character moving in a different direction.

      As for the original outline, it still tracks pretty well. You can read it and season two happens about the same as it looks in the outline. The civil war story is the big part not in there (though Psi Corps pushing in on running the government is), and I think the season four/five question had more of an effect than Sinclair leaving, closing some stories earlier than would have been if season five had been a guarantee.
      Last edited by JoeD80; 03-04-2018, 12:29 PM.

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      • That “lose the stiff” thing isn’t a guess on my part. It’s from someone who was in the room, so to speak, but that’s all water under the bridge and over the dam. Don’t know if Bruce Boxleitner got the job without an audition – but he certainly wasn’t the first choice for a replacement. . . at least, not according to Bruce Boxleitner. Note the bit I underlined, as that’s also what I’ve heard from a number of folks who created the show whenever the topic came up.

        Question: At the beginning of season 2 you came to the show. Was this planned by JMS to take a new, a younger character for the show, was this part the 5-year plan or was it because the television network said we must have a younger character?

        Bruce: People want to be very polite about this but it's important that the audience reacts to a character. First season B5 came on and WB at that time felt so-so about it. They felt that it needed, or that it wasn't getting the exposure that they wanted and I'm not bragging about myself but they said they need to find someone in the lead that has somewhat of a name-value to the audience because many man, many actors were offered the role before it got to me. Stacy Keach to Michael York, Corbin Bernsen, people like that. There were a lot of fingerprints on the script before I got it.

        Michael O'Hare is a marvelous man, a marvelous actor, they just felt they needed a change to keep the show going. So I think the genius in JMS is that he adapted what he had to do, he adapted the storyline with another character. So here was Sinclair in another character, he had I don't mean to burst your bubble about the 5-year-arc, he had to do that or the show would not have continued.

        That's what I was told, I may not have all the facts but it takes somewhat of an audience to find a show, to get used to a show. Babylon 5 has a very different look to it than Star Trek and a very different feel to it. But it hasn't caught on yet, it hasn't got through to the organizations yet, they wanted to make a TV show, when it came to me the executive producer Doug Netter - I had done a western with him years earlier - and I read the script, I liked it, I actually saw the show several times and I liked it. I said yes, yes, I want to do it now. I was Doug Netter's choice. I'm just trying to clear up things, there's a lot of stories.
        The above is from a Q&A at the German Fedcon 7 (1998)

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        • Originally posted by Looney View Post
          I can see all of those being valid points, but what do you mean by the above quote? Do you mean the quality of the work or level of success B5 reached?
          I meant the quality of the work, and the coming together of so many talented creatives to produce something as standout as B5. I know JMS really pushed himself on this one, and often to the detriment of his own health. I think he was really working at his peak and pushing what could be done in SFTV. As I said, nothing else he's produced has grabbed me half as much.

          Originally posted by Looney View Post
          Another reason I think the show could be huge today if people would just choose to watch it is because the core of the show is great and by today's standards people would find it retro-fabulous, for lack of a better term. I mean B5 is a GREAT story loaded with the stuff that makes it look so 90's. People try to create a retro feel now when all they have to do is go back and find a great 90's show with an awesome story instead.
          Yes. as Triple F said, the main thing holding B5 back is probably the production values. The cardboard sets, the 90s CGI, the occasionally bad acting. I mean, at the time a lot of it was groundbreaking, and it remains interesting for those reasons. Personally, I think the CGI work is still impressive. But you have to know the context to really appreciate it. It also doesn't help that modern TV shows now have budgets akin to Hollywood films. So, modern audiences are used to amazing location shooting, great sets, cutting edge VFX and pretty top notch acting. Whilst I love the cast, there's some prime HAM in B5, which I have also grown to love... It really did help if you saw it at the time, pitted against other SF shows that were more formulaic. So, for current viewers, i can see B5 being a far harder pill to swallow, especially S1 when it's finding its feet.

          This to me would be the primary reason for a re-boot, just to give it a makeover for modern audiences. It would also be a chance to tell new stories and take a different tact. If done right it could be superb, but I can't see it happening any time soon unless we get some kind of lucky break.

          Anyhow, these kind of debates are fun, it keeps it alive for us. We can always go back to the original and we can daydream a bit about possibilities if circumstances were to become more favourable for more B5.
          Last edited by Ubik; 03-06-2018, 05:56 AM.
          Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

          Kosh: Good!

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          • Originally posted by Triple F View Post
            That “lose the stiff” thing isn’t a guess on my part. It’s from someone who was in the room, so to speak, but that’s all water under the bridge and over the dam.
            I'm saying this was a complaint from the beginning, not something that came up later.

            Originally posted by Triple F View Post
            Don’t know if Bruce Boxleitner got the job without an audition – but he certainly wasn’t the first choice for a replacement. . . at least, not according to Bruce Boxleitner.
            Yes Bruce said it in an interview - they gave it to him without audition (that one's in the interview books). I'm pretty sure Michael York was Joe's first choice for a replacement.

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            • Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
              I'm pretty sure Michael York was Joe's first choice for a replacement.
              Oooooo there is an alternate timeline I would love to see. It would be awesome to see what York would have brought to Sheridan.
              Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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              • You know, I really do think B5 stands on its own. It's not just good compared to TV of the time, it's just plain good. Not flawless, but legitimately good - in ways that most modern TV shows can't reach.

                The biggest flaw is probably the very beginning. The pilot and the first episode have weaknesses in presentation and writing that later episodes don't really have. (And I love the first season.)
                Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                • Originally posted by Jonas View Post

                  The biggest flaw is probably the very beginning. The pilot and the first episode have weaknesses in presentation and writing that later episodes don't really have. (And I love the first season.)
                  I agree to some degree, but I think they also have A LOT of strengths. The Gathering and Midnight on The Firing Line both establish the world pretty well, but putting them in the context of launching a series you can see a little wobble.
                  Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                  • Midnight has plenty of good moments. The biggest problem are just the opening 5 minutes or so. The episode makes a terrible first impression.

                    Ah, what I wouldn't give for a properly restored version with new CGI... I know it's currently impossible, but that's what I'd really like to see most.
                    Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                    • Originally posted by Jonas View Post
                      Midnight has plenty of good moments. The biggest problem are just the opening 5 minutes or so. The episode makes a terrible first impression.
                      Anything specific?

                      Originally posted by Jonas View Post
                      Ah, what I wouldn't give for a properly restored version with new CGI... I know it's currently impossible, but that's what I'd really like to see most.
                      And what would you like to see? I personally wouldn't want the actual images to change at all other than maybe some minor updating to the quality of the image. As far as color, composition, and content I wouldn't want anything to look different.

                      One thing I love about The Lost Tales (2007) is that many of the effects looked better, but still the same. The only thing that caught me off guard was the docking bay when Sheridan arrived with Vintari. I absolutely loved it and I was able to rationalize that this area had been on B5 all along; we just hadn't seen this particular part. As we know the CGI docking bays on the show tended to be dark. When there is a reboot I would not want this to change, but I would be fine with some added shots of bays that are more lit like in The Lost Tales (2007). Basically I want all the CGI shots to stay exactly the same only they could be done using modern techniques for creating clearer, sharper, and more real looking images. Stay with the original artistic concepts with modern techniques. One thing I don't want to see is a reboot where everything looks completely different. I want the station, the ships, the gates, and space to all lead back to the originals; the same designs, shapes, colors. And I want the same thing for all practical effects. Every wall, every corridor, every panel, and I guess every door. I admit, I am not a fan of the doors on B5, but that is possibly the only thing I would change. And I understand that things like the decor of people's quarters would have to be updated, but I don't think they need to go totally crazy with that. One thing I always like about the individual living spaces is that they always looked connected to everything else on the station. And I could go on and on with this rant, but I am out of time and I am sure many people stopped reading many sentences ago.

                      And I should point out that there was one other thing that caught me off guard in The Lost Tales (2007), the images of Earth. I didn't care for them. That was not how I pictured any part of Earth when I was watching Babylon 5 and I felt it resembled other versions of futuristic cities too much. The show did other versions of Earth I liked better.
                      Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                      • Originally posted by Looney View Post
                        And what would you like to see?
                        In a restoration (not a reboot):
                        • A better copy of the actual film material, completely rescanned (ideally from the originals) and restored to remove scratches, etc.
                        • All-new CGI, but keeping the original designs as much as possible. Modern CGI design is actually a lot worse, fiddly and dull at the same time. Keep the shapes, the colours, and so on.
                        • Redo the CGI that's integrated with actors or sets - in some cases this would need to involve doing the shots completely in CG, or faking some of the elements, or extending and repositioning some of the existing material. Not the easiest stuff ever, but doable.
                        • Possibly various minor fixes to the actual filmed material via subtle CGI enhancement (especially early on).


                        I've seen the show on DVD on a fairly big screen a few times and most of it holds up quite well. A lot of what makes older shows look dated, like the editing and the lighting, is top-notch. You could apply a proper sheen of modernity to the show and make it look splendid. It wouldn't be cheap, mind you, but on a technological level it's quite possible.
                        Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                        • Originally posted by Looney View Post
                          Anything specific?
                          Everything to do with Ragesh 3, from the hair to the sets to the CGI. It just looks cheap, in a way the rest of the show doesn't.
                          Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                          • I can agree with both of those posts. The only counterpoint I would make is that I wouldn't want to see too many "enhancements", i.e. I wouldn't want to see a lot of new background material added and so forth. Many would point to what George Lucas has done to Star Wars over the years as a good example, but we all know that is more extreme than what Jonas is talking about. The George Lucas example I would give is THX-1138. I REALLY dislike the changes he made to that film. THX-1138 is one of my favorite movies and while he didn't change it on the level that he altered the Star Wars franchise he did change it enough that it effects the overall aesthetic of the film. I wouldn't want to see that with Babylon 5. I wouldn't want to see large backgrounds added to the Zocalo or anything like that. One of the great elements of B5 is that it does feel like they are in a tin can, until you get to see a window in someone's office or that little glimpse of open space above Fresh Air. Those are such wonderful little moments when you catch them. Adding more expansive backgrounds to the moments when people are just walking around the Station would spoil it. Generally speaking I would want added CGI kept to a minimum unless it served a purpose, like showing us something that happened that we didn't see happen originally.
                            Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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                            • Agreed. I think most of the sets actually look fantastic. Great design, great colours. I wouldn't want to change any of that. What might be worth changing/enhancing (although it would be a ton of fiddly work) would be some of the less successful background paintings.

                              I'd also add some CGI enhancements to the inside of the White Star. Nothing massive, just some holographic projections here and there (over that crystal keyboard, for example).
                              Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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                              • Originally posted by Looney
                                One thing I don't want to see is a reboot where everything looks completely different. I want the station, the ships, the gates, and space to all lead back to the originals; the same designs, shapes, colors. And I want the same thing for all practical effects. Every wall, every corridor, every panel, and I guess every door. I admit, I am not a fan of the doors on B5, but that is possibly the only thing I would change. And I understand that things like the decor of people's quarters would have to be updated, but I don't think they need to go totally crazy with that. One thing I always like about the individual living spaces is that they always looked connected to everything else on the station. And I could go on and on with this rant, but I am out of time and I am sure many people stopped reading many sentences ago.
                                Agree that much of the original design work is top notch, especially the CGI, ships and costumes. etc... but I would prefer a reboot to be as different as it wants to be. I want to recognise the universe, but equally I'd want to be surprised by a new iteration. JMS hinted quite heavily that his idea of a reboot would be new and surprising. There'd be no point in a straight re-telling. If it were to happen, we should be welcoming of change and difference, because we will always have the original show.

                                I think I'm happy for the original B5 to stay as it is. Sure, a better transfer would be nice, but I'm not too fussed. I am fine with my old DVDs. If people can't appreciate the show on its own merits, in the context of when it was made, then so be it. I really doubt a remastered edition of B5 would build a new audience, plus WB will never shell out for all new CGI and composite shots. A new show or indeed a film would have to stand on its own legs again and build a following afresh.

                                I've said this before, but personally, I don't see a reboot or film happening any time soon unless someone else with greater influence at WB / Hollywood wants it as a passion project, and is nice enough to get JMS on board. At this point the Wachowskis would likely be our best hope, but they burned a lot of bridges with Jupiter Ascending. Also, I don't know if they'd be the right people for the project. They might make good ambassadors / brokers to get it moving though.
                                Last edited by Ubik; 03-12-2018, 07:05 AM.
                                Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

                                Kosh: Good!

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