Electronic Arts was at the cutting edge of video games back in the 1980s. Today’s EA provides games with stunning 3D level immersive experiences. In 2008 EA released a very different and modern third-person shooter, science fiction horror survival game called Dead Space. Dead Space was big, selling more than 2 million copies. In the game, players followed along literally over the shoulder of Isaac Clarke–named for science fiction writers Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke was as an engineer on an interstellar mining starship called the USG Ishimura, where he found himself stuck with some undead creatures called Necromorphs in a setting straight out of Ridley Scott’s Alien. The February 2013 release Dead Space 3 brings along with it a new graphic novel series tie-in: Dead Space: Liberation.
Tag Archive: Alien
Review by C.J. Bunce
Ridley Scott suggests a “sequel to the prequel” is a possibility in the feature material to the October 9, 2012 release of his is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-prequel to Alien blockbuster Prometheus on Blu-Ray, 3D, and DVD. The trailer to the video release gets it just right–there are so many unanswered questions left in this summer’s big-budget blockbuster, sci-fi release that you may think you’re watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. What was this Dr. Manhattan-looking being in the distant past and in our distant future eating that dissolved him into the ocean? How does that being relate to the rather squiggly creature that emerged in one of the movie’s key scenes? Why didn’t Scott just come out and call this a prequel? Surprise, people! It’s a prequel! It’s actually really good at being a prequel, because unlike other prequel movies, it doesn’t re-hash every bit of the original film or films.
By C.J. Bunce
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Green Arrow, and in advance of watching the preview to the new CW Network series Arrow and seeing the actors on their panel, I gawked at the new Green Arrow suit at the DC Comics booth at the San Diego Comic-Con. The nicely polished display cases made it difficult to get great photos because of reflections. I tried with two cameras but ultimately perfect shots would have only been available after the crowd dispersed after hours. But, for the benefit of any cosplayers, here is what I was able to get:
The Green Arrow suit was designed by Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood. The costume features a great choice for the shade of green and a combination of both fine suedes and more rugged, practical fabrics.
Also at the DC Comics booth were Watchmen costumes, presumably advertising DC Comics’ current summer series Before Watchmen. They showcased two costumes, the Comedian, and Nite Owl’s polar suit. Both of these were worn by the actors in the Watchmen movie:
Warner Brothers featured some new costumes from the coming Superman reboot movie, Man of Steel. Here is the hero suit from the movie:
Far across the convention center, I spoke with Joe Maddalena about his TV series Hollywood Treasure, which I enjoy watching for all the various props and costumes and owners that unearth them. He had several costumes and props on display, including Marlon Brando’s costume as Jor-El from the original Superman film and one of Johnny Depp’s suits from Edward Scissorhands:
Profiles in History also had some screen-worn Star Wars costumes on display, including this Snowtrooper helmet from The Empire Strikes Back and a Stormtrooper helmet and rifle from the original Star Wars.
The Snowtrooper helmet in particular illustrates how time is not always kind to materials used for productions, never intended to survive much beyond the studio shoot.
Profiles in History also showcased a nice Wolverine costume from the X-Men films, worn on-screen by Hugh Jackman:
The guys from The Prop Store in London had a great booth again this year, attended by staff from both their London and L.A. offices. The focus piece at their booth was this classic spacesuit from the original Ridley Scott movie Alien:
Finally, across the aisle from the Alex Ross art display was the giant display of Iron Man suits from Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers.
All of this led up to the later reveal of the new Iron Man suit to be featured in Iron Man 3.
Definitely impressive displays this year of screen-used costumes–something there for everyone.
A new movie trailer may explain why Ridley Scott has not been saying anything about what to expect in his new movie Prometheus, the new science fiction film from the universe of the Alien franchise. Because, like a good magician, he is not going to reveal the big surprises until just the right time. This is something cool and by itself gets a cybernetic thumb up from borg.com–in its realism, it is oddly prescient, and in its calmness and innocence, something outright creepy. Check it out:
This new trailer is more an “ad from the world of Prometheus” than a typical trailer with snippets from the movie to entice us to see it. Like Total Recall with all its advertisements for transplanted memories from the company called Rekall, this advertises something different, something at the core of a lot of science fiction–the ethics of science–just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should do it.
The ad seems like it may be good for people who like the chilling parts of Philip K. Dick’s science fiction, people who liked the brilliant science fiction film Gattaca, but who also hope that world never arrives. The character is familiar–we’ve seen androids and similar cybernetic organisms before and have discussed several here at borg.com. This guy looks like Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the eerie quiet and childlike movements also conjure something dark like something you’d get from Stephen King–or maybe like Data just before he malfunctions and takes out the crew of the USS Enterprise.
When and how is this seemingly sentient thing going to break?
Science fiction is often at its best when it shows us tomorrow… failing. Like the Millenium Falcon with a broken hyperdrive.
This trailer feels like 2001: A Space Odyssey, maybe just because of the choice of the name “Dave”. Now I am pretty much not a fan of most of Stanley Kubrick’s work. Despite some neat outer space scenes in 2001, the single scene with HAL and Dave, and some neat set decoration, I’ve never been able to get through the entire film in one sitting. I just find it stunningly boring every few years when I try it again to see if I will like it this time. But if Prometheus is like this ad, with this kind of quiet future scary science… this trailer might have elevated Prometheus for me from a future rental to an actual theater ticket. And that’s saying something because its traditional trailers haven’t convinced me this is something I’ll care about. But then again, their print ads state this David 8 robot is powered by… wait for it… Verizon. Umm… right. And all the restaurants of the future will be Taco Bell.
We probably shouldn’t be surprised that Sir Ridley Scott, creator of the films Blade Runner, Alien, and the recent Prophets of Science Fiction series, has some visionary tricks up his sleeves. But the release of this very, very different movie promotion struck me as surprising, in a good way. And if they do the movie right, “Happy Birthday, David” may be the next sci-fi catch phrase.
Hardly an artist on Facebook or anywhere else today isn’t talking about the influence of Moebius on comics, and sci-fi and fantasy art. French artist Jean Giraud, who went by the moniker Moebius and created innovative designs for movies and comic books alike for more than 50 years, passed away this weekend at the age of 73.
Moebius became famous in France early in his career for his Western anti-hero Blueberry. He went on to being awarded the Eisner Award for his work on Silver Surfer with Stan Lee.
His futuristic designs for the films Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element, Willow, Dune and The Abyss allowed his work to reach an even wider audience. Ridley Scott credited his contribution to The Long Tomorrow to inspire the look of Blade Runner and master anime artist Hayao Miyazaki said his work influenced his work Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
His influence on Miyazaki is unmistakable. Check out this piece by Moebius, which looks like it could be found in any number of Miyazaki’s anime films:
His cocenpt art for the original Tron was innovative as seen in his solar sail:
… as well as his image of Tron himself:
His concept art for The Fifth Element helped define the look of the future, merging elements of past and present, for director Luc Besson, and his aerial Chinese junk boat made it near verbatim to the screen:
His imagery for Alien merged science fiction and horror:
His fantasy influence can be seen in his art for George Lucas’s film Willow:
Ultimately his comic book fans will remember his work for Marvel Comics, and his legacy from that work will continue to inspire legions of comic book artists young and old and designers of the look of the future:
Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus is be set in the same universe as his classic sci-fi/horror movie Alien. Beyond that, the film seems to be a bit of an enigma.
Unlike a lot of trailers that give you a clue of what the movie will be about, the first trailer for Prometheus tells us very little, except: “They went looking for our beginning, what they found could be our end.” The advance press material describes the film as “A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.” This alone sounds like an old, B-movie, sci-fi pitch, so I, and I am sure countless fans of Alien and Aliens, are hoping this movie ends up to be a lot more. If the first trailer is any indication, this feels more like Alien 3, Ghosts of Mars, Event Horizon, or Predator 2, each of which had a few good points, but for a Ridley Scott follow-on to Alien, and from the director of Blade Runner, expectations are, and should be, high. Here is the first trailer released:
A trailer’s sole job is getting us to change our behavior–getting us to decide to pay money to go see it–and not just decide to wait until it shows up on video, or worse, wait until it makes it later to a cable network. One of the worst sci-fi films ever was Solar Crisis. It was billed to the effect of being from one of the creators of Star Wars, in hindsight it must have been someone like the caterer, but that Star Wars reference got folks to the opening weekend. Since then I have scrutinized every trailer I see.
The website www.prometheus-movie.com (possibly an official fan site?) shares a little more information about the plot of Prometheus:
“Little is known about Prometheus’ plotline. But what we can share with you is that the film is set in space for the most part. Similar to that of “ALIEN”; the jumping off point to this project. The film’s name “Prometheus” is that of the space vessel, used by a crew of select individuals who set off to explore and investigate fragments of “Alien DNA”. The film itself revolves around the Space Jockey creature; as seen in the original film ALIEN (1979). When the team of scientists embark on this journey, they get stranded on an Alien world which tests their limits; both mental and physical. Prometheus is also largely based on the creation of mankind, life and the Earth. From the recent synopsis publicly released by 20th Century Fox, we can determine roughly that Prometheus involves a team of scientists, “The Company” representatives and robot / synthetics which investigate and search for keys to unlock man’s ultimate mystery. But in the process, they threaten the future existence of mankind and are faced with unimaginable horrors. The Aliens themselves are said to be much larger than the original “Xenomorphs” we are used to. However, their overall construction will be easily noticable to that of the original Alien canon. Prometheus will be much more than just an Alien sci-fi horror. Ridley Scott is digging deeper for this project and Prometheus will unlock many questions and will touch on many aspects of life and existence. A true masterpiece.”
Huh? I think the production for Prometheus needs to work on its marketing a bit. So this is supposed to be kind of a “deep” movie, like 2001: A Space Odyssey was supposed to be? Are they really trying to sell this through claiming bigger aliens? And telling us it’s a “true masterpiece” in advance is kind of weak –I guess I just think they could do a lot better to try to sell us on this one. Not that we’re looking for spoilers here. Interviews Ridley Scott has given to the press so far have seemed cryptic, too, seemingly trying to tell us it is only somehow related to the Alien universe, but emphatic that it’s not a prequel. When you have a big-name star like Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (who was awesome in sci-fi previously as the star of Aeon Flux), and fan favorites and up-and-coming names like Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise), why not show us more of them? That said, if the actors are going to get drowned out behind the action and effects, then thanks for letting us know upfront.
I still count myself among several that believe the movie Aliens improved on Alien. I realize loyal Alien fans strongly disagree. I also loved the pairing of the “xenomorphs” from the Alien franchise with the Nausicaan-looking creatures of the Predator franchise, both in comic books and on film in the movie Aliens vs. Predator (not a great flick, but still a lot of fun).
You can’t judge a movie until you see it, and often good movies follow stale trailers (and vice versa!), so let’s just hope the next trailer, and more importantly the movie itself, delivers what fans are after: a solid and exciting story, innovative setting and solid acting, more of Alien and Blade Runner, and not another Predator 2, Aliens 3, or Alien: Resurrection. Prometheus is scheduled to premier June 8, 2012.
Along with the recent history of great (Star Wars) and not so great (Star Trek) Vault compilations to hit the shelves is the new Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film by Ian Nathan. I checked this out at the bookstore today and found it to be an impressive collection of photos and a typical sampling of reproduced ephemera from Ridley Scott’s science fiction and horror classic. Compared to other Vault offerings this one falls in the middle.
The book includes a compilation of previously released information, available in the out of print Book of Alien by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross, Giger’s Alien by H.R. Giger, and in the additional materials included with the Alien DVD boxed set. If you haven’t seen those, this will be new to you. The book is slipcased, and smaller than prior Vaults, which are typically unwieldy in their weight and wide “landscape” style design, so small is good here. The illustrations are interesting for the Alien fan who has done no prior reading on the subject–behind the scenes views of the set design, particularly of the Nostromo rooms and corridors, could cause you to spend a good deal of time gawking at this book. It features director Ridley Scott’s annotated storyboards, Polaroids and script excerpts, costume designs, sketches and blueprints of the Nostromo, photos of cast and crew, and images of H.R. Giger’s concept artwork. The film itself not for the squeamish, expect to find several special effects images of chest bursts, the alien monster itself and plenty of alien goo.
As with each new addition in the Vault series, the Alien version includes its own swag, this time ten inserts, tucked into vellum envelopes. As with the Star Trek Vault, the inserts are a bit lackluster, mainly in scale, and any time items are folded they lose a bit of any allure they might have had. The inserts include:
- storyboard reprints (quad folded)
- Nostromo blueprints (quad folded) and additional blueprint
- two small Giger concept artwork prints
- Nostromo ship sticker
- copy of annotated script page with continuity Polaroid images on reverse
- 2 mini marketing posters
The closest book this resembles is the Art of Star Trek, and with that comparison this must be a decent assemblage of behind the scenes data. With little in print currently available to Alien fans, this book is a long time coming. Although this book has vastly less material to assemble, it is arranged similarly to the Art of Star Trek and has a broad view of the movie production process, from concept to design to costume creatios and special effects. At 170 pages and each of those pages full of photos, there is not a lot of content by way of text here, but combined with the boxed Alien DVD set this should give the uber-Alien fan who has yet to delve into “the making of” view of the film something to be happy about.
Review by C.J. Bunce
With three issues out we’ve had enough time to get a feel for the DC Comics’ New 52. Some of the DC titles have found their own niche in the giant volume of books available, considering the severl hundred books published by DC, Marvel and all the independents.
I am pretty pleased with the overall picture in the Aquaman series. On the one hand, the story is very simple so far. On the other hand, what is there is full of snappy dialogue, nostalgic quick references, and inside jokes, from the pen of writer Geoff Johns. As far as the art is concerned, initially I was hoping an Aspen comics-esque, ex-Fathom series artist would draw the Aquaman series or that the current artist would take on Fathom’s dreamy waterworld stylings. Yet Ivan Reis’s view of a world existing side by side Atlantis is superb. And his seafaring underworld aliens are still the best villains in the DC universe right now. Kudos are owed to Reis for his consistent, relevant, striking covers, too.
What struck me reading issues #2 and #3 is that this story is written as if Aquaman was existing in the Marvel Universe. Folk on the street chide and lambast Captain America and X-Men in the ordinary course of the day. Here, Aquaman walks in the room and there is no awe in the eyes of those he meets. He might as well not be there, from the perspective of the regular townspeople. Now this has been done in the DCU before and happens all the time in various contexts but this superhero in the real world concept is very overt here and Geoff Johns’ approach is working so far. The fact that someone can show up at Aquaman’s door and basically say that he was looking for Aquaman and heard he lived around here…maybe it is simple, but it works.
As story arc is concerned, we are seeing more of the calm before the storm in this story than the actual storm, yet we see pockets of storm. As a matter of story tempo and meter, it is following the pacing of the movie Jaws, unintentionally I would expect. That is, we get to know this harbor town, and this is a familiar place. It could be Amity from Jaws. It could be Haven from the Stephen King/SyFy channel series Haven. It is tranquil, and if you have ever spent much time in coastal towns Johns and Reis locked in the feel of this setting, the calm tide, almost the smell of sea and sound of the squawking seagulls. And like the vengeful spirits in John Carpenter’s Fog, the approach of the villainy is slow and deliberate, victims are picked off one by one.
The aliens speak in stilted tones like the bionic animals in the stellar-but-sad-and-disturbing series WE 3, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (probably the only series that has really impressed me from the much-hyped Grant Morrison). Unlike the aliens in the Alien series, this makes them some how more approachable, a necessary trait with any good fleshed out villain. Can these seemingly unsympathetic villains be redeemable? One says “Help us” as he drifts away? Does he mean “I am helping myself?” by escaping, or is he beckoning to Aquaman?
If there is anything to improve upon it is Aquaman and the often jokingly mislabeled Aquawoman, Mera. Mera almost seems more interesting at this point. We’ve been peppered with some slightly depressing but spotty backstory, some kind of regret, but I’d prefer something else, or at least some reason to like these characters more. The super duo are trying to help humans, despite clearly the fact that humans don’t always want their help. But as story elements go, we need to like the humans and the lead characters both or we’ll get bored with the story. Maybe if Aquaman were to act against his own interest? Then again, saving a dog from the creatures is a good start.
In issue #2 we learn that the sea monsters are hungry and they see us as food. We also see that Mera is not going to take a backseat in this story—being the first to step forward against this new threat. In issue #3 Aquaman gets the body of one of the sea monsters for examination and learns more about the creatures. The book ends with Aquaman and Mera racing to “The Trench,” the supposed origin of these villains. The story arc continues next month… and we’ll be back for more.