Chris Roberts created a really innovative video game way back when. It was fun, entertaining, and had great graphics and a plot that was mildly entertaining. Sure, I only had 1 meg of RAM and a 286 at the time, so I didn't get to see the superfluous animation in the cockpit. And I didn't have a sound card, so I missed out on the voice samples that really made the game fly. But it was a fun game, and I played through it. Sometimes with cheats, and sometimes without. But without fail, the first thing I would do is kill my wingman.
The reason was simple: they were annoying. They had little messages that would bother you. And they would occasionally kill Kilrathi. A Kilrathi that Paladin or Angel or Maniac killed was one less that I could kill. Killing my wingman made my flight more fun, less interupted, and gave me a higher score.
You can't kill your wingman in the movie. But you'll want to. All of them. Christopher Blair, Maniac, Angel. You'll want all of them dead. But only some of them die. The cheesy acting is easily on par with the traditionally terrible sci-fi fare. The writing is bad. The jokes are bad. Many of the FX are amazing, but I spent most of my time staring in slackjawed amazement at the terrible acting and not marvelling at the really excellent asteroids, and the better-than-average space ships.
The kilrathi are poorly handled. Shot usually in green (very reminiscent of the viewscreen from the games) surrounded in fog. They don't look good. They look like big rubber suits. I mean, in the game, Hobbes was a badass. That's a Kilrathi. Not these cheesy looking big dudes in crappy suits. The subtitles are cleverly handled (they are shown in their native symbolic language, which is overwritten in English. I actually kinda dug that).
Whats wrong with the flick? It feals like MTV. The now-standard intense credits (which were probably the most interesting part of the movie) are quite raw. The charachters are really extreme- especially Maniac (who really is well done. You'll him with a passion. Probably the only believable charachter in the movie, although not after he falls and love and goes from somewhat believable jerk to completely fake guy-in-love). But so many scenes are designed raise our sympathy for charachters, but the acting is so flat that I just wanted to smack everyone.
Hmmm... so great visuals, bad acting. Its pretty much like all sci fi I guess. Not as campy as Lost in Space. LIS knew it was camp. Wing Commander thinks its cool. It just isn't. I'm glad I saw the prequel trailer.
And Chris: I loved your games. Make more. Maybe a Linux Port? I never got to play WC4. Make another movie too, but lose the pretense of being "cool". Just create a fun and interesting universe. Thats what made your games work. Porn Stars and Mark Hamil were just icing on the cake.