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Friday, August 25, 2006

Alas, poor Pluto

So poor Pluto has been demoted (or, as Dina put it, "riffed").

I've heard a rumor (okay, I'm starting a rumor) about a new cottage industry of professionals who are going around to little kids' houses and elementary schools and yanking Pluto off of their toy solar systems. And another industry recycling those Plutos into balls for the Hungry Hungry Hippos game.

Anyone else think that this demotion is a Machiavellian move by the Solar System Toy Mafia to get people to buy all new eight-planet solar system sets? And then, a few years down the road, the SSTM will get the ruling turned over and promote Charon and Xena to planet status for a whole new slew of solar system sets? Poor Pluto is just caught in a temporary crossfire.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Indy IV news scares Rob

My commentary below...

From Sci-Fi Wire:

Lucas: Indy IV Starts In 2007

George Lucas told Empire magazine that he, director Steven Spielberg and star Harrison Ford are aiming to shoot a proposed fourth Indiana Jones movie by mid-2007, with an eye to a 2008 release. But, he added, getting everyone back together may not be easy.

"Before, I was just working with Steven and Harrison," Lucas told the magazine. "Now everybody's a superstar, so it's a little bit more difficult than it was then."

As for the story? "We're basically going to do The Phantom Menace," Lucas said cryptically, referring to Star Wars: Episode I. "People's expectations are way higher than you can deliver. You could just get killed for the whole thing. ... We would do it for fun and just take the hit with the critics and the fans. ... But nobody wants to get into it unless they are really happy with it."

Lucas added: "The 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation has freed up an idea for a plot that was originally deemed too incendiary. I discovered a McGuffin. ... I told the guys about it, and they were a little dubious about it, but it's the best one we've ever found. ... Unfortunately, it was a little too 'connected' for the others. They were afraid of what the critics would think. They said, 'Can't we do it with a different McGuffin? Can't we do this?' and I said no. So we pottered around with that for a couple of years. And then Harrison really wanted to do it, and Steve said 'OK.' I said, 'We'll have to go back to that original McGuffin and take out the offending parts of it, and we'll still use that area of the supernatural to deal with it.'"
Okay. Is there any way that this doesn't sound like a horrible beginning to this movie?

First, we've got Lucas apparently calling a lot of the shots storywise. Lucas used to be an amazing talent, but I've seen precious little evidence that his talent remains these days, especially after the terrible Star Wars prequel trilogy, which showed that he'd lost touch with the human connection that any great story has to have.

Then we have his own lukewarm discussion of the McGuffin (MacGuffin is the preferred spelling, by the way). I understand that he's trying to talk about the movie without giving away actual details of what he's talking about, but he sounds completely unenthusiastic about it. If this movie is to be made, it needs to be a labor of love for the primary storytellers involved. They need to be engaged in it and excited about it, or it's going to be a terrible disappointment.

Finally, when he said "We're basically going to do The Phantom Menace"? My blood froze. I'd have felt better if he'd said "We're basically going to do Plan 9 from Outer Space" or "We're basically going to do Glitter" or even "We're basically going to do Gigli." What the hell is he talking about?

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