My name is C.E. Dorsett, and I am a scifi/fantasy writer. I have written the books Shine Like Thunder and The Chain, just to name a couple. I am really a builder of worlds from the wuxia inspired, scifi setting Our Solemn Hour to the dark fantasy of Dragons of Night. My writing is influenced by writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Charlaine Harris, Alice Hoffman, Armistead Maupin, Frank Herbert, E E Doc Smith and Robert E Howard. I love to tell stories and talk with my readers.
Star Trek is not a reboot?
After pushing the new Star Trek movie as a reboot of the franchise, writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are starting to push back. It's clear that most people are not interested in yet another reboot, and even less are interested in a reboot of Star Trek. It is interesting to see how they are changing the context of the film from a reboot to a prequel/sequel.
From Reboot to Prequel/Sequel
Orci said, "We couldn't imagine not having this movie somehow fall within some degree of continuity. We don't accept the word reboot. Reboot does not actually describe the fact that this movie would not be possible without the 10 movies that came prior to it. The very events of the movie themselves are caused by Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and his story, which picks up essentially after the last movie, Star Trek 10 [Nemesis]. ... So our movie is both a prequel and a sequel. It's a sequel if you're a fan, and a prequel if you're not (SCI FI Wire)."
Honestly, I don't know what to think about this. I am not sure if it is:
- the writers starting to revolt against what they feel is an unfair characterization of this movie
- a new marketing push to rebrand a movie that is not gaining much traction
I want to be hopeful, and believe they are telling the truth, but the good feeling doesn't last long.
Time Travel and Canon
Why is the time-travel element necessary?
Orci: I don't think that fits into the classic definition of a reboot. So it was necessary for that. And it's also necessary in order to both connect the world to the original Star Trek, but then also to then give us the dramatic license and the dramatic stakes of having an unknown future in the movie.
Kurtzman: Yeah, the biggest thing I think we all hiccuped on, just conceptually, when Trek was presented to us was, "Well, we know how they all died. We know what happened to them." And when you know that, it's very difficult to put them in jeopardy in a way that feels fresh or original. How do you ever have real stakes to your characters?
This also conveniently allows you to violate canon, such as it is, if necessary.
Orci: Well, again, it's a continuation of canon. If words have precise meaning, it's not technically a canon violation (SCI FI Wire).
They are going out of their way to try to keep this movie in the prequel/sequel category.
I find it hilarious to see any Star Trek writer talk about cannon. Every fan knows that ever since Gene Roddenberry died, continuity has not exactly been a preoccupation of the continuity. Whenever it was convenient, they have abandoned canon. Kurtzman does make a good point that by adding an element of time travel, it does mean that no one is safe.
Star Wars in Star Trek
I have already gone into detail about my fears that they are going to make the new Star Trek film too much like Star Wars (see it here), so I won't repeat myself, but Orci and Kurtzman have given me more to chew on:
Orci: Well, my short quick answer on that up front is Star Wars had a little bit more of an archetypal, mythological structure. That differentiated it from Star Trek to a certain degree in that Star Trek was a little bit more classical science fiction. Star Wars is fantasy, really.
So, as a result of it being fantasy, the story, I think, was a little bit more mythologically drawn.
Kurtzman: I think what we know is that ... Star Trek is about naval battles, and, at its best, is always about out-thinking your opponent. ... But there's a reality to the way that people watch movies today. ... Which is that you cannot honestly expect ... a 12-year-old boy to walk into a theater and to go sit through two hours of very slow naval battle. It's just not going to work.
... There has to be an updating there. And yet you have to stay entirely true to the spirit of Trek. So the challenge then becomes "How do you marry those two things?" And ... the way that we put it is that there's plenty of naval battles in a way that's familiar and a way that seems very Trek. But ... the difference between Star Trek and Star Wars is that Star Wars has always been about speed. ... It's dogfights versus slow ship fights (SCI FI Wire).
Ok, I am not sure what to make out of this. I really want to remind them of the space battles from the Dominion War in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, or in Voyager, or Enterprise. You don't have to look outside the franchise to find fast paced action.
I also have a problem with the invocation of the 12 year old boy. They have been dumbing down entertainment for so long, that they now feel that they have to cater to the short attention spans they created.
I suppose I should be comforted that their contribution to the franchise will be to remove what little science fiction remains.
Forget everything you know
- It's not a reboot
- It's a prequel/sequel
- It will be fast paced
- It will not by Science Fiction or Scifi
- It was made just for 12 year old boys, not for general audiences
- It is true to cannon
Wait?? What?? Forget everything I know? Ok, I will. I will expect:
- wooden 2 dimensional characters
- no plot
- nothing thought provoking
- lots of shaky cam
- lots of explosions
- fantasy creatures around every corner
I didn't expect the sequel to Lord of the Rings to be a Star Trek film but game on...
PS: J. J. Abrams' "Creativity" and "Imagination"
Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo U.S. Release Date!
After what feels like an eternity of watching Japanese language trailers and reviews wondering when the latest Hayao Miyazaki's latest film Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea will come to the United States, I now have the answer: August 14th 2009!
To top it off, Disney have hire a stellar voice cast for the English dub:
Noah Cyrus provides the voice of a baby goldfish named Ponyo who desires to be a human, and gets her wish. She runs away from her home in the sea and befriends a five-year-old human boy named S?suke voiced by Frankie Jonas. Other cast members include Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White (/Film).
My anticipation has just shot into overdrive! I cannot wait until August!
Del Toro and the Hobbit
Have you brought up the possibility of Viggo Mortensen reprising the role of Aragorn in The Hobbit?
Del Toro: You know, when the time comes. I hope New Line buys lunch.
Have you made any casting decisions?
Del Toro: Not yet. Just the ones that have been announced [Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum]. There's not lack of information. It's not withholding. We really don't have more information, because we're writing. And literally, like every week, what you discover writing the two movies, writing the two stories, it changes. So every week there's a discovery, and anything we say this week would be contradicted next week. Certainly that would be true in casting. Why create hopes or why create expectations if down the line you're going to go, "You know what? That was not a good idea." So we won't cast it until we finish writing (Scifi Wire).
I love that he is not wanting to get our hopes up only to dash them. I wish he would have given more information about what will be in each movie, and I assume that is what he is talking about when he says that it changes every day.
I cannot help but wonder how much of the story is being shaped by what he perceives as the limitations of the medium, or the cost of doing some of the scenes. There is one character he has given a lot of thought too.
Del Toro: Smaug is THE creature in The Hobbit. The way Tolkien wrote it already is magnificent. It's already a fantastic character. So, obviously, dragons, you ask every person what their best favorite dragon is, they will give you a different answer. In my mind, what we're going to attempt on the design of this creature and the creation of this creature needs to push the envelope beyond anything you've ever seen on that kind of creature.
That's a lot to overcome.
Del Toro: Yes and no. Yes and no, because, normally, the creature, there is some stuff that has been done with dragons that I find there are very few landmarks created for me. One of the best, one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made. So what you have to be careful is not to try to be distinctive just to be distinctive, but Smaug has certain characteristics that make him unique already. I cannot. I am bursting at the seams about spilling the beans, but I won't, because I would be shot. ... (Scifi Wire)
Smaug is the Achilles’ Heel of the movie. The Wyverns in the Lord of the Rings movies looked a little strange, and as a fan of dragons and dragon-kin, they really let me down. Smaug plays a pivotal role in the book, and should also in the movie. I pray to Eru Ilúvatar they do not mess it up.
Matt Hanson Responds to Conserns about The Unfold
Thanks for your post, very considered and raises some good points. One of them is about 'groupthink' and a 'focus grouped' film -- well I am really positive about this actually and have a completely different spin: I think too many films nowadays are 'generic', genre based to appeal to international demographics -- and I would much rather have a 'groupthink'-inspired film influenced by members who all have a common purpose of creating an artistically interesting and challenging film on a primary level, than one driven by marketing demands.
If this means it appeals to less audience then I'm happy about this because it is an artistically-driven rather than commercially-driven process -- and part of our process of remixing cinema, is reclaiming the seventh art for this very purpose.
Rant over ;)
Finally, yes many flaws in process - but this is a giant experiment and we are deliberately testing lots of approaches to see what works best for this process, and is the most fun and useful...
Matt - Creator, A Swarm of Angels
I am encouraged by Matt's response, and I wish A Swarm of Angels good luck with their project.
To be clear about my hopes and fears about distributed film making. I would love to see a viable model succeed. The glory of the internet is that it allows strangers to collaborate on projects that no individual could accomplish on their own.
My biggest concern is that we have yet to see a finished product from any of the proposed systems.
I have always wanted to make a film and have been watching these models closely, hoping to see one that I could use to make one of my films.
Good luck Matt, I enjoyed the trailer, and I cannot wait to see The Unfold.
Three Types of SF Fans
- Image via Wikipedia
Every since I first entered fandom in the 90's, I noticed that not all fans are the same, and, in fact, not all those who call themselves fans actually are.
A fan is a fanatic. An easy way to figure out if you are a fan is to ask yourself one question: "Is there anything that I just cannot get enough of?" If the answer is yes, then you are a true fan.
Most people actually fit in the class of Enthusiast or maybe even Buff. An Enthusiast is some one who is excited by a certain series, but can be satisfied by what they can find. A buff is someone who may know a lot about a particular subject but has no emotional attachment to the subject.
Why am I making such a big deal out of this? Because, I am tired of finding SF blogs and sites that claim to be run by fans, but are not. And even when I find one of those few golden sites that is actually run by a fan or fan community, I then discover that they are not the same type of fan as I am.
Over the years, I have sought out a good site/blog, and I have found that Fans fit nicely into three categories:
- Fans of the Spectacle: Fans who are interested in action and special effects, typically of Space Opera, Disaster/Monster/Action Movies, usually watches movies, some series, rarely reads.
- Fans of the Specifics: Fans who are interested in the nitty-gritty details and their accuracy or consistency.Typically of Hard Scifi, Military Scifi, and High Fantasy, usually reads the books, watches the series, and nit-picks the movies
- Fans of the Story: Fans who are interested in the story, the characters, and Typically Soft Scifi and Sociological Fantasy, usually reads or watches the series, and watches the movies.
We are of the third type. Honestly, I bounce around on the spectrum depending on what we are talking about, but for the majority of things that I love, I love them for the characters, the setting, or the meaning I find in the story itself.
Being a fan of story helps me set my expectations for a book, series, or film. For example, I didn't expect much more out of Transformers than a Spectacle. Giant robots blowing stuff up, and that is exactly what I got from the film. So I liked the film. I knew going into it that there wouldn't be much of a story or the specifics that I had grown to love from the Transformers.
There are very few blogs of this third type. I would love to learn about others, but I have yet to find them. I write out of a sense of what I love, rather than what I can mock for a cheap thrill. I hope you are as excited as I am about exploring this rich world of SF stories with me. I can barely wait to get started.
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