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Review:Wing Commander 306

Every now and then Hollywood really amazes me. They produce a complete bomb. Not Insurrection bad (you guys already know what I felt about that cespool), but Insurrection had had the whole legacy of Star Trek to embaress... Wing Commander only had a few awesome video games (the latter of which already featured bad acting and a cheesy plot). Hit the link to read my review. Or save yourself the time and just don't bother reading the review or seeing the movie.
Never one to miss a Sci-Fi blockbuster, I lined up opening night despite hearing very little positive feedback about the movie. I did know the rumors that the Prequel Trailer B would probably be shown (it was: it was amazing. Almost worth the admission to the movie) so I figured I'd drop the cash and see the trailer and catch the movie as well.

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.

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Review:Wing Commander

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  • Ok, I remember reading a big thread about this special effect SOMEWHERE. (Ask Slashdot?) Basically, you put a whole bunch of cameras in a line/circle, and they all take a picture at the same time. You use computers or other editing effects to make it seem like it's just one camera moving around.

    Make sense?
  • Ah, but do you have such a desireable number as I? Drool before my 10!
  • Rob. I love slashdot, I read it everyday. But, I am getting more and more embarrassed by your poor spelling and grammar. Here is a few examples:

    cesspool, not "cespool"
    feels, not "feals"
    "You'll him with a passion."...what is this supposed to mean?
    characters, not "charachters"

    I am not trying to say that you suck or that slashdot sucks, just that when you are being read by thousands of people, you need to make sure that your writing doesn't look like you are in 6th grade, with a D in English.
    version conflict
    X X
  • They're a hell of a lot faster at drawing, too. And a large number of text processing tasks. And image processing. And a lot of other things. Of course, you can call all this maths, because computers are mathematical machines. OTOH, it may be possible to make a mathematical model of the brain, too.
  • My hat's off to you then! Star Control 2 had one of the BEST soundtracks at that point in Video Game history.

    Now please tell me that you were the one who did the UrQuan score and NOT the one that did the Spathi score!

  • Amen! I wonder how many other folks noticed this.

    You're right though. The one critical piece of that film is that it WAS a propaganda piece. I mean, it gave me that same "get-a-load-of-this" feeling I always get when I see copies of Reefer Madness...another propaganda film if there ever was one.
  • The last Wing Commander game was a better movie than the Wing Commander movie was. It had a better plot, better action sequences, and better actors. (I mean, Malcolm MacDowell, consummate bad-guy, as Admiral Tolwyn, consummate bad-guy, instead of... er... some old guy. And Mark Hamill, retired Jedi starfighter pilot, as Colonel Blair, retired Confed starfighter pilot, instead of... er... some young guy.)

    To start with, they should have cut about half of the sub-plots, starting with all the "Pilgrims" BS. All the extraneous sub-plots left them too short on time to develop the main plot, which led to the main plot being very jerky and forced, with a lot of explaining why they're doing things rather than just showing it, because the time they should've spent showing they spent having Commander whatshisname reading his lines about how Pilgrims are bad.

    Which brings us to the second point... the acting. If you can call it that. The secondary characters (the Pilgrim-hating exec leading the list) were truly awful, the main characters merely cliched. The only bright spots were Maniac (and I never thought I'd say anything positive about Maniac), who played a truly believable asshole for most of the movie, and Angel's very first scene, where she came up to Blair and started firing questions at him. Her role went downhill after that, but for a moment I recognized the Angel from the game - always the technical flier, always studying the specs and the odds.

    And then there was Blair's response, which brings us to the real problem with the movie. Blair was in it. The problem with that wasn't even the actor playing Blair, though he wasn't terribly good. The problem was that the part was there. Having Angel, Paladin, Maniac - all the old faces - in the movie is one thing. But Blair is something else, because he wasn't just another of the old familiar faces from the game. To all us Wing Commander veterans, Blair is us. We sat in his starfighter cockpit, we wore his uniform, we answered to his name. I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the audience who measured the Blair in the movie up against my own performance in that role, and found him wanting.

    Angel shoots a couple of questions at him, he comes back with a couple of lines of macho BS. Meanwhile, my mental filing system is popping out the correct answers, which I learned the hard way in the cockpit of a Hornet. You got two Dralthi on your six? Punch the afterburners, buy yourself some range, then turn and bring them into your firing cone. Head on at them, dodging fire, until they break, then pick one and dog his tail until he goes up. After that, his buddy's easy meat.

    His answer to the other question happened to be correct, of course (So there are six Kilrathi lying in ambush... who cares? Put me in a Rapier (or anything but a Scimitar, actually) and I'm not scared of six Kilrathi anything. I've flown missions where I've killed five times that many, solo, because my wingman ran screaming for home halfway through the first encounter.), but he didn't deliver it as a guy who knew that he was capable of taking six Kilrathi. He delivered it as an inexperienced macho twit trying to impress a lady... and the Angel from the game wouldn't have been impressed.

    It might have been possible to do the Blair role right, but it would have taken a damn good actor, and some damn good flying, and it still would've left a lot of old Wing Commander hands unhappy with it because they didn't recognize themselves in it.

    Speaking of flying... where the hell was it? Wing Commander was a game about the epic space battle between the Terrans and the Kilrathi (and I'm not even going to mention the giant toads they had standing in for the real Kilrathi), so where was all the epic space battling? They had one real dogfight in the entire movie, and even that one was neither very good or very long. It seemed to exist mostly as a vehicle for bringing on Maniac's personal crisis (And, guys, Maniac doesn't -get- personal crises. Maniac -gives- them.).

    And then there were the fighters. The entire game revolved around the fighters. Anyone who's played the game knows what a Rapier looks like. And, sorry, it doesn't look like a mutant Zero with a huge gatling gun for a nose. The Tiger's Claw in the movie didn't look very much like the 'Claw I used to land on, either. The Kilrathi fighters (I assume they were supposed to be Dralthi) weren't too bad (in the few shots they actually showed up in), but their capitol ships didn't look much like the ones I used to hunt, either.

    And they played the Star Wars trailer immediately before the movie. It got a standing ovation. The contrast just made the movie worse.

    One final comment, then I'll shut up: One of my friends pointed out that the ending left things open for a sequel. I don't know whether to be terrified that they might make one, or to hope that it might give them a chance to redeem themselves.
  • Well, the capitol ships, at least, in Wing Commander have always apparently had artificial gravity. That bit with the crashed ship was on the flight deck of the 'Claw, so presumably, it was within the area of effect of the 'Claw's artificial gravity.

    If you want to bitch about scientific inaccuracies, try fact that they were able to hear the approaching Fralthi (or whatever it was supposed to be) through the vacuum... and had to be quiet (not radio or EM silence, actual quiet inside the ship) so it wouldn't hear them... WTF?

    And how did whatsername manage to crash that ship, anyway? I've flown home fighters that were in a hell of a lot worse shape than that one. I managed one time to fly a Hornet home after ramming a Gratha to death with it - his five buddies'd shot off both my lasers, and I'd used up my last missile taking out the last of them, so when I got to Gratha number six, I had nothing left but the ship itself. So I hit him with it. Three times. (Gratha are tough bastards.) Then I flew back to the 'Claw with a Hornet that had both wings missing, no armor on front or back, and almost every internal component damaged. Getting clearance with a damaged comm was a bit tricky, but landing was hardly a problem.
  • My girlfriend yelled the same thing...

    It would've been funnier if they'd cast Luke in that role like they did in the game, though. :)

  • They weren't speaking metaphorically.

    I don't mind having spaceships go swoosh for effect when they go by, and hearing the lasers fire and the like (though the 2001-style realistic complete silence may be a more powerful effect). When they start shushing people so the enemy cruiser doesn't hear them, that's taking things too far, though.
  • A couple of points... the fighters in the Wing Commander universe (at least in the games) had "acceleration compensators", which I think were supposed to be some sort of anti-grav unit that reduced the stresses on the pilot. They certainly had the tech to do it... the capitol ships had full-blown artificial gravity.

    And Wing Commander had force shields, too. They're what made the Rapier such a vicious fighter... it was small, fast, maneuverable, reasonably well armed, and, while it was more lightly armored than the heavier Raptor, it had better shields than any of the other fighters. Damage that would slag a light fighter often wouldn't even penetrate a Rapier's shields. Cap ships, especially the bigger ones, had massively heavy shields. I can't count the number of times I've spent many minutes staring at the tail end of a Fralthi or a Snakir, pounding on them with my guns, trying to bring those shields down far enough to do some real damage to them - and this after unloading my entire missile load into them. They introduced the torpedo later in the series specifically to take care of that problem.

    Speed and maneuverability were more effective protection than even shields, though. I always hated flying the Scimitar, because, while it had decent shields, armor, and firepower, it had all the speed and maneuverability of a pig in mud. The Raptor wasn't too bad... it wasn't terribly maneuverable, but it was reasonably fast, and it was a fraggin' tank. The Hornet, the Rapier, and (surprisingly) the Kilrathi Dralthi were all sweet little fighters, though. I'd always assumed the Kilrathi fighters just sucked until I got a chance to fly a Dralthi in one of the Secret Missions expansion packs. It wasn't terribly fast, well armed, or well-shielded, but it could turn on a dime. It kicked some serious ass in a dogfight. After eating six Kilrathi-piloted Rapiers for lunch with one, I came to the conclusion that it was the Kilrathi pilots that just sucked...
  • The Star Wars trailer was indeed the the first one, and that combined w/the opening sequence and first few minutes of the actual movie were the only thing worth least I only paid $4.25 to get in.
  • I find it odd how these space movies continually mess up their portrayal of zero gravity. It was especially humorous when they pushed Rosie's crashed ship off the "edge" of the landing area, and it fell off the edge. Where did it "fall" to in zero gravity? Why didn't it just float off?
  • by Special J ( 641 )
    "Like in ID4, they were automatically able to link up with the "alien ship network" and communicate on it, not to mention that the C program he uploaded was automatically binary compatible w/ the alien ship's computer. (#include "aliens.h")."

    Ahhh..that's where you're wrong...He didn't really use a cleverly written C program...He crippled the alien mothership's network by installing Win NT!
  • Posted by DaveCBio:

    in a LONG while. The plot was beyond cliched, the acting was so cardboard they might be able to recycle the film and make toilet paper (which would be the best use of this movie). After a whole group of us from work came back from seeing it we sat down and were asked if we could come up with one good thing from the movie. After a minute of silence one of my workmates said, "The explosions were cool.". So, the legacy of a series of good video games is now a flat, lifeless, pathetic film.

    P.S. - The trailer was worth thr price of admission.

    P.P.S. - The Kilrathi in the games looked 100 times better and that is not hyperbole.
  • Posted by DaveCBio:

    This was intended for the big screen from square one. Read the numerous articles in Wired, PC Gamer and other game magazines that talked about it. Not a single one ever mentioned it being a straight to video production. It's easy to tell by the CG that is was meant for theatres. It's not CG's fault that the acting and, what we can loosely call, the plot was more cliche ridden than a made for TV movie about computer hackers.

    P.S. - Did anyone else feel like they were watching a high school production of Das Boot with a large FX budget?
  • Posted by Pushkin:

    By the crapy commercial, or rather the crappy acting in the hastily pasted together commercial; that this movie is a piece of steaming hot feces. I think i'd rather go watch Prince of Space WITHOUT the help of the MST3k crew than even think about wasting 7.50 (or 9.00 in NY) for this celluliod tripe.
  • Yes, I admit it, I saw it too. This movie was going nowhere (opening weekend, theatre had like a total of 9 people in it). We MST3Ked it, which made almost tolerable, but not really.

    A list of some of the lamest parts of the movie, IMO, for those who haven't seen it (let these be a warning to you):

    1. They loaded torpedos into the launch tubes by hand! like some WW2 movie. What, did something horrible happen in the future that made everyone forget the auto-loading technology that we already have today?
    2. The fighter ships looked like cut-off prop fighter-planes, with the circle of guns looking surprisingly like a rotary prop engine. I don't recall them looking that bad in the video game.
    3. Cliche, Cliche, Cliche! The hangar on the flight deck had the standard assortment of guys in helmets running around guiding the fighters to their takeoff points (I expected to see some guy come out with paddles to direct the planes). fighters came in to the hanger with lots of sparks and grinding - even on the successful 'normal' landings.
    4. Cliche, Cliche, Cliche! Every standard military flyboy-movie thing was found, but done very badly - the new guy trying to prove himself to his squadron, starting off on a bad foot. The lunatic pilot who starts out uncontrolled and crazy until his antics get someone hurt and then he 'sobers up'. The hard-nosed-commander-who-softens-up-later. The I-can-break-my-order-but-you-cant senior officer, etc. The list goes on.
    5. This has got to be the worst: The ship is silent, hiding on an asteroid. An enemy vessel slowly passes overhead. The captain tells everyone to be on the lookout, and they all look up at the ceiling! (Which has no windows or anything.)
    Don't see the movie. It blows. If you are one of these insane people who is willing to pay money just for the SW trailer, wait to see it on some other movie. (I went in expecting Wing Commander to be an okay movie. That's 2 hours of my life I'm never getting back.)
  • Chris Roberts in his Salon interview implies that Wing Commander, the movie, is better than Mortal Kombat, the movie because the game has more of a plot. I can't really say that Mortal Kombat was a bad movie. What made it for me was the 10-12 yr. old boys sitting in front of me who were totally stoked. They were having such a good time I couldn't help but have one too.

    Mortal Kombat II just stunk. There could've been a theater full of pre-teen boys rocking out and I still wouldn't have enjoyed it.

  • Actually, in at least one scene, Paladin and another guy were flying Broadswords (don't know if they even resembled those from the game). He used it to take out a cap ship.

  • I counted 4.

    1) the sign on the box office telling people that the new "Phantom Menace" trailer would be played before "WC", but that they wouldn't get a refund if they left before the movie started
    2) the "Phantom Menace" trailer
    3) the fighter battle scenes (the FX, anyway)
    4) the fellow in the front right section of the theater who (when Blair was told he could navigate that nasty quasar better than a computer could because of his "gift") yelled "use the Force, Luke"
  • I think it's pretty pathetic trying to make a movie out of a game franchise whose heydays were like 8 years ago.

    Who cares now? I mean, how many people are going to recognize and smile at the broken fuse box in the cockpit that looks just like in the game? or How about that corny cameo by Chris Roberts?

    I was a big fan of the game but I couldn't care less about those in-jokes - not after getting assaulted with "facts" like if you make too much noise in space, your enemy can hear you. Yes, it's true, I didn't make this up, guys..

    I'm so glad I didn't drag anyone with me to see this crap...they'd demand me to be their slave for a week!
  • No, I don't mean turning off radar or engines..

    The movie has a lot of allusions to naval warfare. There was one scene where a destoyer was "pinging" and dropping "depth charges" on an asteroid to find the Tiger Claw (which is built like a submarine and has Jurgen Prochnow as the CO, btw).

    When the destroyer got closer, either Prochnow or Paladin was shhushing everybody otherwise "they can hear us." I think they use the word "hear" literally there.

    It's fine with me when movies try to make stylistic impression like the looks of WW2 war machines in this movie - it was cute for a while. But they should not cross the line by letting the story line (or logic) affected by it.
  • Look at Roger Ebert's web site. In the "Movieman answer" section, there's one question about this (the gap commercialc, the schwab ones, etc.) There're actually two competing (maybe) techniques out there. I'm pretty sure one of them was patented and their website has a lot of sample movies you can download that use this technique.

    email me if you can't find it.
  • I went to see WC on friday at a 30-screens cineplex. On saturday, I came back to watch Life is Beautiful. The theatre has this sign plastered all over the box offices (all 18 of them):

    "NOTICE: We will not issue refunds or exchanges for Wing Commander tickets!"

    I guess this is because some people might just want to watch the prequel trailer because the movie doesn't suck that bad. Well, it's really bad, but not as bad as Avengers. On the flip side, people who don't know about the trailer would also get a fair warning on the film quality :)
  • It's a tie-in to a video game for godsake. Why would you assume it to be other than crap.
  • oh totally. although i have this theory that all movies with john leguizamo are kinda like that.. q.v. The Pest.

    plus the part where they're talking about the fact that they're Luigi Mario and Mario Mario.. heh
  • Of course I know it...

    I wrote one of the songs in it. :)
  • In the original Wing Commander, if you had enough expanded memory, it had different explosions, and more animations, and more wreckage, and whatnot...

    I had a 286, so I couldn't get expanded memory until I got a 386, at least, not without constricting my conventional memory so much the game wouldn't run. I spent so much time looking for extended->expanded converters that took less memory, and this and that, trying to get my extended memory to work with WC, but it never happened.

  • Also, it should be "he himself is", not "they themselves are", since "a fool" is singular.

    Naw, you can use "they" now as a singular when you don't wanna specify's true...honest...



  • I agree.

    that was the worst movie that could ever be created by humans...

    It was especially bad because I never saw the original lawnmower man and had no idea what the hell was going on :)

    Has anyone else seen this terrible movie? Reply, I want to see who else has been forced to witness this crap.
  • Actually, the special effects were ok, about minimum what i'd expect for a hyped sci-fi movie.

    However, the writing, story, and acting were _much_ better than Starship Troopers. This was Starship Troopers with a smaller budget.

    I didn't come out of Wing Commander thinking to myself "My, what a waste of a movie", and that's a lot better than what I can saw for a lot of other sci-fi movies I've seen. Maybe if they make another Wing Commander movie, they'll get it right.

    Also, I must add that the budget for Wing Commander was only $27 million.... it can perform in a mediocre fashion and still not be too bad.

  • I've got only one thing to say to that: no co-ed shower scene! Now *that* made Starship Troopers a great movie. :)

  • Holographic lighting systems? You mean like Bill Gates' house?

  • Yeah, wasn't that a French Canadian accent the Commodore had?

  • Umm, if you release too much EMF into space, your enemy *could* detect you. Electromagnetic energy, unlike sound, travels through a vacuum. So "running silent" (metaphorically speaking) makes perfect sense from a physics standpoint.

  • who developed 'RISE OF THE DRAGON '?, when was it released etc
  • by goon ( 2774 )
    provbably never find it but I'll look out for it, dynamix makes good games (thinks, 'many hours spent shooting down fw190's in AOE')
  • I was quite seriously on my way out the door to see WC when I decided to check slashdot again.

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • After your review of ST:Insurrection, I wonder if I should listen to your movie reviews. After all, had you paid attention to the plot a little closer, you'd have caught a lot of the explanation of the goings on that offended you. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as you made it out to be. Perhaps I'm more generous than you are with movies- but, I'll reserve judgement on Wing Commander (just like I did for Insurrection).
  • I noticed this while watching the movie for the first time... and I am an American. I told my friends that this is what I thought it was and they just kind of looked at me with a blank stare. I am glad that I am not the only one who thought this.
  • that's the name of that game i think.

  • Come on, give me a break.

    It was PERFECT for what it tried to do and its target audience.

    What were you expecting ? Shakespeare?

    It's a movie based on a _video game_ for Gods sake.
    Lighten up d00d!

  • Am I just weird? I thought Starship Troopers rocked. Then again, I didn't go into that theatre expecting acting and a plot, like some people.


    Gratuitous violence is always kinda fun.

  • See Life is Beautiful. One of the best movies I've seen in years.
  • Its a shame that MST3K is being cancelled. I get the feeling that Wing Commander is a nmovie they could really work with.
  • actually, considering goldblum's character in id4 was using a powerbook, it was prolly just a badly written hypercard stack ;)

  • Well, I knew WC would suck. But I went mostly to see the Star Wars trailer. So we got a bit of a late start, but decided to stop off at the store to buy some pop (saves us the $12347892 of movie theater pop). Running even later because of that, we hit a damn train on the way there. We could have beat the train except some reject in front of us decided he would drive half the speed limit.

    So we waited through the train and floored it to the theater. When we got there, the film was already rolling. We sat through two trailers, none of which were of Star Wars. Then the movie started. Damn! Did we miss the prequil trailer?! Either we missed it, or they didn't play it. I figured we should have just left then.

    So the opening credits started rolling. I'm thinking, this looks cheesy. Then there was this really impressive shot in space with asteroids. For about 10 seconds, the movie looked good. And then the acting started. It took me about 5 seconds to realize right away that this was a B-movie. It had B-movie written all over it.

    This was supposed to take place 600 years in the future. Did you see the equipment and technology they were using? It looked like Star Trek:TOS. Pathetic.

    What did it for me was the Kilrathi. I mean, it was so bad it was actually funny. I chuckled at least a dozen times because of have corny it was. I think they used the same cut for each Kilrathi death. It looked like one of those lifesize cardboard cutouts that was just knocked over. I'm not exaggerating either!

    Taco liked the alien subtitles ... I thought that was corny too. I mean, alien subtitles. Think about that -- what's the point?

    The game had better special effects than the movie did. The movie is worth seeing for a) the prequil trailer, and b) a good laugh. If you're expecting a good sci-fi movie with decent fx, don't waste your time.

  • ...I went in expecting badly acted B-movie cheese, with stuff blowing up, and I got it! :) Enjoyed the heck out of it.
  • Rob that's a great review. I was totally entertained.

  • Everybody has been influenced by Niven, directly or otherwise...

    Jamie McCarthy

  • The book was controversial in the 1950s because the warring species symbolised communism fighting against fascism. The aliens of course were communists, and the human soldiers, while not terribly sympathetic, were sympathetic enough that it's a little scary. It seems to have been a not-very-subtle way for Heinlein to push his brand of social structure: I love his writing, but he was always just one small step left of Attila the Hun.

    Paul Verhoeven []'s movie of Starship Troopers [] was a truly bastardized version of the book: almost nothing was kept except the name. But the director - whose parents had a hard time thanks to Hitler and who is keenly aware of what fascism is all about - decided to carry over some of the book's symbolic flavor. Mostly it shows up in, as you point out, the uniforms and various other details. Also, note the brainwashing going on in the "TV spots" between scenes, which are rather clever parody.

    And if you think the character of Rasczak is antidemocratic in the film, wait 'til you start reading through his endless lectures in the book. Holy cow.

    I'm not one of those who fret over how movies are going to be misunderstood by the unwashed masses, but unfortunately many people are going to see this as another bullets-and-gore flick, and boy do those Nazis dress well. Which kind of misses the big picture. Then again, possibly in the 1950s many people read the book the same way, and who knows, maybe that was the director's point.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • I'd rather see a BeOS version :)
    Linux can serve the popcorn
  • Star Raiders (Atari, 1979) on the classic Atari 8-bit computers has never been equalled.
  • Six? WTH?

    Ok, so I played WC I and II, a little of III. I heard about IV.
    There's WC Academy, Armada, and the newest, Prophecy (of which a demo is available).

    Then there are Priv and Priv II.

    So where are those WC 5 and 6? I'm looking through Origin's site, and there's no mention of them...

    And what about his free-for-download? Or is that the demo...?

  • Maybe the scanners (you know, radars work by rebounding waves off of an object) can detect those vibrations caused by sound, and thus keeping quiet will reduce the vibrations and make the ship look more like an inert object than something bustling with voices...

    Of maybe I'm pushing things too far...

  • Now we all know who really needs to go back to school: to re-take reading comprehension 101.

    Good review, Rob: saves me the jing. Then again, seeing Prequel Trailer B on the big screen is tempting, not to mention the memories: I beat WC I and II without cheats, which took a while, and I too remember being annoyed by most wingmen, except the brilliant Hobbes. I never bothered with the latter 2 WCs. I heard about all the cinematic tripe they were concocting, and begged off.

  • Back to school as in "Run A Spellchecking Program" before you post. You're such a lazy characther.
  • Well, the movie sucked. I loved it when they were hiding the ship and everyone had to be real quiet so the enemy ships didn't hear them... huh?

    But, on the plus side, Saffron Burrows, who plays Angel, was imho incredibly hot.

    (pissed cuz I got there too late for the star wars trailer...)
  • true, but a well piloted ariloulaleelay skiff could smoke the crap out of most of the ships in that game. ur-quan/ kor-ah dreadnoughts, all dead. except that damnable chimmr. and it wasn't TOO bad vs the sa-matra.
  • StarControl 2 was really one of the best games ever.

    I loved the plot, the humor, the ZatFotPik (they were awesome, the dialog was great)

    I wish there was a Linux version. I wonder if I could get it to run under the Dosemu...

    When the makers of StarCon2 sent out a survey asking about what we as starcon2 fans wanted in the new version, I begged them to keep the technology low, and the game playability high, humor high, plot high.

    They took my advice and shoved it in the trashcan. Starcon3 really sucked ass.

    Someone needs to analyze that game (SC2) and make another game with all of the good features, and none of the bullshit that comes with most games these days.

  • If I see one more sci-fi movie that manages to sneak in some moral statement about bigotry edgewise, I'm going to vomit. Pilgrims my ass. It's about time the industry moved on to any topic that hasn't been beaten to death.

    And throw scientific realism out the window. We can now fly around gravitational singularities, and plot courses through hyperspace with our brains. Anyone with a brain would program a computer to do it. A computer can do it faster.

    *sigh* But the special effects were good.
  • I just finished posting a similar, if abbreviated, view on the IMDB. The movie sucked. I really wanted to like it...but just couldn't. But like Rob said, seeing the trailer on the big screen was almost worth the money by itself, so I didn't feel *too* cheated.
  • Hey all...

    I also played WC and WC2 for endless hours. I was fortunate enough to have (an original) SoundBlaster when WC2 came out, thus I enjoyed the "Speech Pack" that was sold separately.

    Only years later did I start reading some of Larry Niven's science fiction (the Ringworld series, great books!) Now Ringworld was written in the late 60s and early 70s I believe and the Kilrathi aliens of Wing Commander bear a striking resemblence to the Kzinti race in Niven's universe.

    Both are a race of large, fercious, tiger-like creatures whose society is militaristic in nature. The physical descriptions of Kzinti given in Ringworld are very, very close to that of the Kilrathi. Does anyone know if Chris Roberts was directly influenced by Niven?

    By the way, Ringworld is great and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys quality science fiction, not the crap that is put out by hack authors these days. The Kziniti are a very believeable race, and Speaker-To-Animals is far cooler than Hobbes ever will be.

    Rishathra anyone?

  • Was I the only one who interpreted Starship Troopers (the movie, haven't read the book) as a parody of Fascism?

    The Federal logo, the anti-democratic sentiments in the school, their plasticised look, Doogie Howser's (whatever his real name is) uniform, their home town, the way the soldiers got younger and younger . . .

    Better still, I'm still not convinced the cast were in on the joke.
  • oh, wish i would have logged on somtime in the past seven hours so i could have saved the $40 (me, gf, gf's son, popcorn, cokes) i spent to see this ridiculous waste of an evening movie.

    but, the trailer did make it worth it for me. unfortunately, my gf took her sons to the bathroom right before it started, so it probably only pissed her off.

  • WC4 was the worst game I've ever played.
    It was _so_ bad. I wish I could have turned the
    game off and watched the cutscenes.

    Play Elite instead.
  • I'm sorry. How long have you been doing computers?

    Wing Commander was a very innovative game at its time. In fact, anyone with class, and roots, would appreciate this movie.

    I'm sorry your parents allownace didnt warrant better equipment in the day. But you talk like your some bigshot actor or director, your not.
    Stick to what you know, linux preaching, broke databases, and your intel i-wish-i-was-a-real-server archetiture.

    If you have the odasicty to insult a movie that has roots in the computer world, you obviously are new to the scene.

    And who cares about your stupid linux ports. I dont. Software is software, and at least Chris Roberts has the talent to make a game that was innovative, and get it into a movie.


    (you were probably the guy in school who took names while the teacher was out)

  • Could everyone go over to MobyGames [] and slashdot-effect the hell out of it? I'm curious to see what everyone thinks of the actual original Wing Commander--the PC game from 1990. Give it a rating if you have the 10 seconds it takes to do so...
  • yes it is... chances are tho, that someone will do this at the same time as me. let's see...
  • ...that strained my ordinarily charitable spirit on the front page of Salon|21st [] featuring Chris Roberts describing some of his influences (Tora! Tora! Tora!, Das Boot) and why the movie is better than Mortal Kombat.

    I fell out of my chair when he talked about doing a "Saving Private Ryan kind of thing."


  • blah blah blah french fries.
  • yep, I found Starship Troopers hilarious too. I don't know if it was intended that way, but I sure hope so ... I'm definitely not seeing WC though.
  • I've seen 3 really good movies recently... Buffalo 66, Life is Beautiful, and Celebrity. I've also seen a really bad one, but it's french so you've probably never heard of it.
  • Even though I'd seen the Phantom Menace trailer like 20x on quicktime, I found myself standing in front of a theater on Friday thinking "What the hell.."

    The trailer was good. Ever notice how sometimes CG shots look a little grainy? The whole trailer had that grainy look that you couldn't really see in Quicktime. I hope the whole film isn't like this!

    Then Wing Commander started.

    This is the biggest piece of shit I've seen this year. It makes Lost In Space look like 2001.

    After about 15 minutes, most of the audience was laughing at it and yelling lines at the screen.

    How much more explicitly can I warn you all: It was a huge tub of crap-- from the star wars ripoffs ("I fought with your father in the XXXX wars") to the star trek rip offs ("Half-breed!" they call the half-human, half-"Pilgrim" hero) to the cheesy, flat acting, & horrible generic sets... The editing was INEXCUSABLE. The CG special effects were ok technically I suppose, but not outstanding and mostly consisted of the same type of shot over and over again-- the kind you're used to seeing on Deep Space 9. (If I see another zoom-from-a-spaceship-into-a-window shot again I'll kill myself. This movie does it like six times)

    You should see the submarine-like space fights-- no, they're not "proton torpedoes" They're ACTUAL spece torpedos and they suck!!! Maybe they're from the game, but in the film the sub thing looks ridiculous, esp. when the enemy is "pinging" at them and they all have to be quiet so that they can't be found while they're hiding in a crater.

    Ugh. After seeing this film I had a headache that lasted three hours. This film ruined my Friday night. The old Buck Rogers & Battlestar Galacticas on TV are more dramatic and had more interesting plot and characters than this.

    Oh, and there's a crazy French guy in this film, who for some reason has to have his face two feet from the camera lens in every shot.

    You've now been warned. Proceed at your own risk.
  • The official wing commander [] site links to reviews of the film, including this one [] which begins as follows:

    Remember that scene in A Clockwork Orange where the government tried to modify Alex's brutal behavior by forcing him to watch those ultra-violent film reels? It's possible that a similar approach could deter computer or video game designers from directing movies--just make them watch the extremely lame Wing Commander, an embarrassing effort from first-time helmer Chris Roberts, the same man who created the CD-ROM on which the film is based.

    This is the ONLY actual review of the film (the other articles are about the film coming out...)

    If nothing else, THIS outta tell you something!!!
  • What I thought was pretty funny/ironic was that the actor, Jürgen Prochnow, that played Commander Gerald, the guy that started out as the second in command of the ship, is also the actor that played the captain of the U-boat in Das Boat. You can check for yourself by looking at The internet movie database [] and search on either movie.

    Every time he was giving orders all I could think of was Das Boat, which is a great movie. This made the movie somewhat bareable.
  • Yeah, I've seen it free, but I'd pay to see it on the big screen. You lose quite a bit in the transition...
  • Was I the only one who interpreted Starship Troopers (the movie, haven't read the book) as a parody of Fascism?

    The director made comments about how he wanted to portray Heinlein's world "but in a manner which made you think".

    Idiot. Heinlein's book already makes you think. The director's problem was that he didn't agree with Heinlein's vision, so Starship Troopers the movie becomes, not propoganda for the Federation (as the newsreel-esque scenes would imply), but subversive propoganda against the ideals of the Federation.

    But I watch it on a regular basis anyway, largely for the FX...

    Jay (=
  • You can't be serious. As far as the game goes WC4 blows; it's the least playable and least enjoyable of all of the series so far. (Although I haven't had the ?pleasure? of trying P2 yet.)

    Somewhere, a long time ago, Origin forgot that it was about the _game_ and not about the freaking cinematics. I will give WC4 its due though. The opening scenes are fantastic and MUCH MUCH better done than the movie was. Despite WC4's crappy game play, just knowing that Digital Anvil and Chris Roberts worked on WC4's intro and the movie made me have high hopes that the movie wouldn't turn in to a cheezy piece of crap. Too bad I was wrong. Someone needs to take WC and Priv away from Origin/Roberts and give the game and the movie rights to someone with a clue.
  • Speaking of pushing the crashed ship off the edge of the landing area . . . why the heck didn't they tractor-beam her into the ship bay? They used them to grab the escape pods - is there some unwritten rule in the future that you'll be rescued if you bail out, but come up short bringing your ship home & you become space carrion?
  • Hey, they make a crap movie like this while they could make another awesome Buckaroo Bonsai movie (Or a re-make) the CGI is good enought for the movie to rock now but nooooooo... Let's do a stupid Video game based movie... What's next? PACMAN the movie?

    How about MSTK3 the movie? go to a movie to watch someone watch a movie... that would RULE!
  • Read the book and you will understand. It is a "possible future". The movie was a bit more direct in how they portrayed the total control/fascism of the time. The book, as usual, made you think about that a bit more. Also, in the book it is not the explosions or the bugs or anything like that that's really the message--it's the main character's internal struggles. That's what the story is really all about. Give it a read. It's not bad.
  • Yes, this one is THE greatest game...
  • I have to agree with most people when it comes to the fact that Wing Commander stunk, and that the only thing going for it was its special effects. The unfortionate thing is that I was one of the few unluckey people in that the theater I went to did not bother to show the trailer to Episode I.
  • The game under discussion is Star Control 2, and it had a PC premiere. Star Control, a damn fine game in it's own right (I was good enough with the skiff to wipe out the entire Urquan alliance with it alone in meelee), did appear on the Amiga first, but it is not the game under discussion.

    I hear the duo behind SC 1&2 have a Playstation game out called Unholy War (iffy on the title).

  • I know what you mean!
    It actually seems like most of the characters in the film were either French or British.
    The torpedos didn't bother me that much. They had enough destructive power. The Star Wars "Proton Torpedos" you mentioned were nothing but missiles.
    What really bugged me also was that they pretended the spaceship was a sub. Everyone knows sound doesn't travel in space, so stop being quiet and looking at the ceiling!
    And what was with those wierd looking things they claimed were Kilrathi? The Kilrathi aren't a bad CG version of who knows what! They supposed to be big lion/tiger-like cats with humanoid bodies! I remember the Kilrathi looked 10x better in the WC2 cutscenes!
  • From what I've read and been told, you apparently didn't really miss very much by not getting to play WC4. Even Mark Hamil couldn't save it (or so I'm told).

    WC3 rocked very very much, though. Wish they'd based the movie on that, using the same actors...
  • ...but as I've seen in IMDB's "user comments" area, and now here, no matter how crap a movie is, there will be some (sometimes a lot) of "I liked it" and "it wasn't that bad" reviews...and no matter how awesome a movie is, there will always be somebody yelling SUCK!!!

    Someone should come up with a formula relating the number of each type of review to the other to figure out just how good movies really are... :)
  • Everyone was either Scottish or English, with a few exceptions. :-)

    Was this a British film? It seems to have gone overboard on the "Naval-Submarine" imagry. In the US, our Space Ships seem to be more Pilot-Airforce related, while this movie was all about Submarines, torpedoes, and such. I felt like I was watching a really bad WWII sub flick.

    P.S. Why in God's Name did they make cool computer animation, but make the Kilrathi out of cheesy foam rubber?
  • Not that it really has anything to do with your point, but: Jurgen Prochnow, who had a signifigant role in the movie (I haven't seen it yet, so I can't say whom he plays), also played the commander of a German WW2 U-boat in the unbelievably good movie, "Das Boot". Rent it, subtitled if you can. It'll make you claustrophobic.

    Sample dialogue, translated to geek to shield the easily offended:
    "I was going to screw myself to a standstill, but now I'm in no condition to fsck."
  • Don't be so pedantic. i.e:

    Get your head out of your.

  • Hmm. Someone told me that WC4 really sucked arse.
    Is this true? I thought Prophecy was the best game in the WC series. Mind you I don't really care about the acting.

  • Instead of checking the PGP sig on the "top secret message" against the Admiral's public key, they get into a big argument until the crazy french guy shows them some heirloom ring.
  • You couldn't have been more right.

    Although, the frozen-tableau was a great shot, too.
  • I can see the similarities; I bet he was.
    You're right, on the books, too--excellent reading material. I bought Throne as soon as it came out. Did you read The Integral Trees or The Smoke Ring?
    Is your offer still open? ;-)
  • Ok, I'm on Spring Break right now, and as a result of a new multiplex existing in my town, the old multiplex has "$2 Tuesdays", so I can see this movie on Tuesday for $2. The Star Wars trailer alone may be worth that, but do you guys think that the movie is worth $2? That's cheaper than renting it. Hmmmm. Maybe if I sufficiently dumb myself down by playing Zelda64 till then, I'll be ok. Maybe I won't notice the plot stuff and can just gawk at the special effects. Hmmm, what do you think?
  • I realize I'm getting fairly off-topic here, but bare with me.

    Starship Troopers wasn't so much a parody or hilarious as it was satire about US/UN politics, imo. The whole thing was essentially a story about propaganda. About how we buy into it so easily. And how accepting we are of what our government tells us.

    The whole movie was shot as a propaganda film, for the people set in that universe. The point of the whole thing wasn't that the events were supposed to be believeable to us. The point was that they were supposed to be believeable to the people the film was intended for.

    And that's where you've got to make the connection; the satire here isn't the film itself. It's us. We're the satirical part of the equation, because we're supposed to believe it. And we do. We accept Clinton's explanation for why he bombed the Iraqis, and ignored Saddam's explanations of take-over rights, just as the people in this film accepted the explanation the government that the aliens were evil, rather than the explanation that the aliens were just protecting their turf against the expanding humans, who were penetrating their home.

    I guess it's easier to look at a film like this objectively when you're not american. Or maybe it's just because I'm Canadian.. :) Either way, I thought it was a good thought-provoking film. Not for the special effects, or the actual storyline, but more for the manner in which it was presented, and the whys behind why it was presented. And the constant little reminders that 'what you are seeing is what really happened' while everything that 'really happened' has been snipped out. That constant voice saying "Would you like to know more?"

    Well.. would you?
  • It's not worse than Lawnmower Man 2..? *whew!* Man, I actually BOUGHT that movie, thinking it'd be great. (Yeah right..) So if the Wing Commander movie's better than Lawnmower Man 2 (which I watched at least twice, and I'm still relatively sane..) then maybe I could watch Wing Commander without too many ill effects. :)

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.